Lady Toppers get ‘weird’ sweep of Troy, stay in No. 1 seed race

WKU defensive specialist Sarah Rogers celebrates a spike during the second game in the Lady Toppers’ 3-0 sweep of Troy on Friday in Diddle Arena.

Brad Stephens

“Weird” isn’t the type of word coaches typically use to talk about winning performances.

But that’s exactly the way WKU coach Travis Hudson described his team’s efforts in a 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-17) sweep of Troy on Friday night.

“The game had a weird feel to it,” Hudson said. “I’d give our team a C-minus. We passed, but it certainly wasn’t one of our finest performances.

WKU (24-6, 13-1 Sun Belt Conference) trailed 12-10 in the first game before a 10-point run put the Lady Toppers up for good.

They also found themselves in trouble in the third game while tied at eight.

Hudson chose to take a timeout and talk to his players about the errors they were making.

“Of the eight points Troy had, all eight came from errors we made,” Hudson said. “You certainly have to make the other team make plays.”

After the timeout, WKU went on a 15-8 run that clinched the match.

Earlier in the week, junior middle hitter Tiffany Elmore had labeled Friday’s match as a “must-win game.”

Though her team did get the win, Elmore echoed Hudson’s opinion that the Lady Toppers weren’t sharp.

“There were certain play sets we had been working on in practice this week that we didn’t execute tonight,” she said. “The win was definitely good, but could’ve been better executing.”

Junior middle hitter Lindsay Williams paced WKU with eight kills, while freshman setter Melanie Stutsman led the Lady Toppers with a .545 hitting percentage and 30 assists.

“Melanie is very talented,” Elmore said. “As a freshman being able to do what she did tonight it says a lot about her.”

Hudson was praiseworthy of another freshman, outside hitter Paige Wessel, who recorded three kills and an assist in limited playing time.

Wessel said some over-confidence after already defeating Troy this season may have contributed to her team’s sloppy performance.

“Because we had beaten them once, we didn’t come in with exactly the right mindset,” she said. “We just kind of let them hang around.”

Sloppy or not, the Lady Toppers’ victory means that home wins Saturday night against South Alabama on Saturday and against Middle Tennessee next Friday will allow WKU to clinch the No. 1 seed for the Sun Belt tournament.

WKU has already defeated the Jaguars this season 3-0 and has a 21-match winning streak in the series.