Rogers’ defense fuels WKU to win over Central Arkansas

Sophomore Sarah Rogers digs a ball during the third set of the Lady Toppers’ match against Central Arkansas in the WKU Tournament at Diddle Arena on Saturday evening. WKU won the match in the first three sets. CHRIS FRYER/HERALD

Emily Patton

Sophomore Sarah Rogers is not afraid of the ground.

Because after her combined 24 digs in wins over Central Arkansas and Tennessee Tech today, the ground is where Rogers was dominating.

Series after series, the libero was found diving head first onto the floor, again and again while helping the Lady Toppers come away with wins in the WKU Tournament.

Rogers’ performance helped lead WKU (8-3) to a victory against Central Arkansas 3-0 (25-15, 25-20, 25-22) and Tennessee Tech 3-1 (25-13, 21-25, 26-24, 25-13) on Saturday in Diddle Arena.

“Defense is my favorite part of the game,” Rogers said. “When I get those digs, I just get fired up. It is just that great feeling I get every time.”

During the second set against Central Arkansas, Rogers and company led by six at one point. But to Rogers, the lead was not sufficient.

After serving, she then recorded two digs back-to-back to give the Lady Toppers a seven-point lead. Central Arkansas would only reduce the lead by two as WKU went on to win the set, 25-20.

“On the first dig, I was jacked,” Rogers said. “Then the second one came and I was just ready. It makes me just get back in the play, wanting another one.”

But to Rogers, her ability to dive into the ground continuously was fueled by the support of her teammates on the sidelines.

“After the series of digs, I went back to serve,” Rogers said. “I had everyone cheering me on and excited for me and I just couldn’t stop smiling.”

Junior Lindsay Williams, who was named to the all-tournament team for the first time, said a performance like Rogers’ is when you “think outside of yourself.”

“We are all tired, it is both physically and mentally,” Williams said. “You have to think outside yourself and play for your team. If you miss the point, your whole team misses the point.”

It was also the type of performance that WKU needed with the five lead changes and nine tie scores that the Sugar Bears continued to deliver.

With the two wins, the Lady Toppers have won eight of their last nine matches, which Head Coach Travis Hudson said he feels more than confident about.

“We are really starting to have a little flow to us and that is really good to see,” Hudson said. “We have been winning the hard way for a while, and when we hit our rhythm, we are going to be a really tough out every time.”