COLUMN: Do yourself a favor and watch a winning team

Cole Claybourn

It’s amazing the kind of atmosphere that can accompany a winning team.

Those who attended the volleyball matches at last weekend’s tournament at Diddle Arena know the feeling.

It was electric — exciting, even. 

There were 431 people in attendance for Friday’s match against Wake Forest, but it felt and sounded more like 3,000.

During some of the men’s and women’s basketball games last season, it felt like the exact opposite.

“Diddle had a great buzz to it tonight,” Head Coach Travis Hudson said after Friday night’s match against Wake Forest. “We’ve been working hard for a lot of years…Our kids have been working hard to try and create an atmosphere. When I walked out of the tunnel tonight I could feel it right away and that’s exciting.”

Senior middle hitter Lindsay Williams said there’s just something unique about matches at Diddle. 

“We go to any other home court, and yeah, they have a great crowd, but ours just feels different,” she said. “It feels more special.”

 But frankly, there should be far more fans in Diddle when the Lady Toppers are playing than there have been.

Right now, that’s the best team on campus, and it’s not close.

The Lady Toppers are 9-1 after wins over Xavier, Wake Forest and LSU this past weekend and will likely break the Top 25 soon if they continue winning this week.

In addition to last weekend’s wins, WKU has mowed down other big name opponents such as Virginia Tech, Ohio and Belmont. 

The Lady Toppers aren’t just winning the matches either—they’re winning handily.

Aside from their loss to Kentucky, the Lady Toppers have dropped just four sets. Hudson knows that’s nothing scoff at.

“We’re in a stretch in our schedule, where in an 11-match stretch, 10 of the teams finished in the top 80 last year,” he said. “We’re putting ourselves out there and putting ourselves in a position to get an at-large bid again, and boy, we’re picking up some quality wins along the way.” 

A winning volleyball team is nothing new for WKU, though, especially under Hudson. WKU has had 11 straight 20-win seasons and been to five NCAA Tournaments under Hudson.

On top of the quality on-court product, the volleyball team is perhaps the most engaging team at WKU.

After each game, Hudson and the rest of the team join with the pep band and “Hudson’s Hillraisers”—the student fan group—in singing the WKU fight song. They follow that up by signing autographs after each game.

Junior outside hitter Jordyn Skinner said the players just want fans to come to one game.

“If they just come to one, they’ll love it,” she said. “You just have to get them hooked on one game and they’ll want to come back.”

If thousands of people are willing to file into Diddle Arena and Smith Stadium each week to watch teams that have struggled the past few years, then why not do the same for a team that’s winning?