Elmore’s enthusiasm contagious for surging WKU volleyball team

Junior middle hitter Tiffany Elmore celebrates with her teammates after they scored against the University of Central Arkansas in the first set of their match in Diddle Arena during the WKU Tournament on Saturday night. The Toppers defeated the Sugar Bears in three sets. CHRIS FRYER/HERALD

Emily Patton

Junior Tiffany Elmore will be the first to say that she can get a little crazy.

Whether it’s smacking the court, dancing or simply screaming, the middle hitter is one of the first Lady Toppers to react after a point is made.

While Elmore had a team-high 15 kills during the Virginia Tech match in the WKU Tournament last weekend, her team struggled to find its rhythm. But that didn’t stop Elmore from celebrating.

“It is frustrating,” Elmore said. “Because you want everyone to be there with you. I feel like every time I go nuts and smack the floor, I get at least one person, and maybe the next time I’ll get somebody else to jump on board. I tell all the other girls when they are out, ‘If everything isn’t going right, just scream.'”

Her contagious enthusiasm allowed WKU (8-3) to shrug off its 3-1 loss to the Hokies and come back only a few hours later against No. 27 Missouri rejuvenated.

The Lady Toppers led by five over Missouri in the third set, and a kill by Elmore summoned match point.

Elmore “went nuts” with her team briefly before she stepped up to the net to deliver the game-winning kill.

“I pretty much go absolutely nuts,” Elmore said. “I know every time I go crazy, it kind of lightens the mood a bit, especially when its one of those moments that we’re not doing so well.

“In the Virginia Tech game, we weren’t playing really well altogether, so I decided that the next point I get, I’m just going to smack the floor and go nuts. It is my reaction half the time.”

Elmore earned 14 kills and a hitting percentage of .619, but, more important, her senior teammate Emily Teegarden, who was struggling in the first match, came back to tie her in kills.

Teegarden, an outside hitter from Brentwood, Tenn., said seeing Elmore’s reactions are what get her “fired up” for each point.

“It makes people laugh,” Teegarden said. “It gets you hyped and an adrenaline rush. I think it makes the game fun. If we didn’t get to cheer and celebrate, I would just be bored.”

To Teegarden, the fun she sees her teammate have during the game is what makes the Lady Toppers execute better.

WKU has now won eight of its last nine games.

Along with the tournament wins, Elmore was named to the WKU all-tournament team after her performances in the four matches last weekend.

The all-tournament honor is not the only acknowledgement that Head Coach Travis Hudson believes she should be earning.

“Tiff’s playing at an All-American level right now,” Hudson said. “Maybe she is the fourth All-American in our school’s history.”

But while Elmore can be seen celebrating her every kill, it’s the accomplishments of the team she looks forward to most.

“If I can be that reassuring person where I can be like, ‘You got that pass, you got that kill,’ I can help everyone else do well too.” Elmore said. “It was the kind of thing were you say, ‘OK guys, it’s time we got this.’”