WKU’s Elmore back in action after last year’s ACL injury

Senior middle hitter Tiffany Elmore rehabbed a torn anterior cruciate ligament injured in last season’s NCAA Tournament and didn’t miss a day of the 2011 season. She was named the Sun Belt Conference’s co-Player of the Week after the Lady Toppers went 3-0 last weekend and Elmore recorded 17 kills.

Lucas Aulbach

After tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right leg last December, WKU senior middle hitter Tiffany Elmore says she didn’t even consider missing time this season.

“I had in my mind the whole time that I was going to be back ready to go for the start,” she said.

The injury happened in WKU’s NCAA Tournament match against Cincinnati.

Elmore said after the injury she knew she was going to have to work to be ready for the start of the volleyball season.

Head coach Travis Hudson, whose wife Cindy was Elmore’s physical therapist, praised Elmore for being able to comeback for the start of the year. “The kid has absolutely worked her tail

off for the last eight and a half months,” Hudson said. “She’s just a tough, gritty kid and you knew when she went down that she would be able to handle this as well as anybody.”

Elmore was a key part of WKU’s NCAA tournament team a season ago. She was a first team All-Sun Belt selection and lead the team with 339 kills.

Now, almost nine months later, Elmore’s ACL has completely healed, although she still wears a knee brace on her right leg.

The 3-0 start was due in large part by the return of senior middle hitter Tiffany Elmore, who led the team with 27 total kills and earned Sun Belt Conference co-Player of the Week. Elmore suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right leg during the NCAA Tournament last December.

After rigorous offseason workouts, she was able to come back for the season opener. With the first weekend of the season over, the Lady Toppers can now focus on preparing for competition this weekend. WKU travels to Lexington for the Kentucky Classic tournament hosted by the University

of Kentucky. It will be somewhat of a tougher task this weekend for WKU, as the Lady Toppers will be in action against Kentucky, Virginia Tech and Ohio University, all of whom made the NCAA Tournament last season.

“We have to improve offensively. That’s what we addressed in practice (this week),” Hudson said. “The level of competition is really going up this weekend.”

Senior middle hitter Lindsay Williams said WKU has been working on improv- ing defensively since the preseason and this weekend will be a good gauge of their progress. “We’re just trying to remain defensive-

minded,” she said. “Our goal for the season is stopping anybody from an ace standpoint, from a block standpoint and from a dig standpoint.”

Sophomore Ashley Potts said in order to prepare, the Lady Toppers have been work- ing on all aspects of the game this week.

“This week we’re focusing a lot on of- fense but not forgetting our defensive mind- set,” she said. “We’re working hard on serving, defense and blocking.”

Potts started at libero in Nashville last weekend — a position that junior Sarah Rogers started at in every match last season.

Hudson said he wanted to give Potts a chance at the position because of her strong defensive play and that both her and Rogers will see time at the position this season.

“Those two kids are, in my opinion, the best two defensive players in our league,” he said. “Sarah Rogers is a phenomenal defen- sive player, and they’re both great ball control players. I would trade neither of them for anybody in the country.”

Potts said she plans to use what Rogers has taught her at the position.

“Sarah’s pushed me the entire time I’ve been on the team, and I really look up to her as a player and as a teammate,” she said. “We’ll get the job done this weekend no matter who’s playing libero.”