WKU volleyball’s Skinner shines as game-time decision

Emily Patton

Jordyn Skinner had missed a week’s worth of practice and was expected to miss more.

But hours before game time last Friday at Purdue, the sophomore outside hitter wanted to play.

Skinner, who started as a freshman in 2009, fell awkwardly on her left ankle on Aug. 20. When she woke up Friday morning before the match and noticed improvement in the ankle, training staff and Head Coach Travis Hudson gave her the okay to take the floor.   

“Looking back on last week, it was kind of shocking for me to be out there playing any this weekend,” Skinner said. “But I did not like sitting on the sideline doing nothing.”

With Skinner on the floor, WKU (1-2) came away with a 3-1 victory over Central Michigan and nearly took a win from Purdue during the round-robin Mortar Board Premier in West Lafayette, Ind., over the weekend.

The Lady Toppers played three games during the Premier. Skinner missed just one match — against No. 24 Northern Iowa on Saturday — to rest her ankle.

“After Friday’s game, we had talked about me probably not playing in the morning because we didn’t know how my ankle would be after the Purdue match,” Skinner said. “It gave me a longer rest because it was a little sore.”

Over the course of the two games Friday, Skinner recorded a combined 16 kills and 15 digs — numbers that her teammates and head coach called awe-inspiring.

The only player that posted better statistics was freshman Melanie Stutsman, who gave credit for her own performance to Skinner’s comeback.

“It was just really inspiring, and after those first plays, I started to relax and have fun,” Stutsman said. “I had no thought in my mind that she was going to play, and I look up to her.”

But to Skinner, she was simply doing her job.

“We are in this for the team and we play as a team,” she said. “They have my back every step of the way.”

The Lady Toppers play one mid-week contest at 7 p.m. on Tuesday against Tennessee State in Nashville. But Hudson’s primary focus for Skinner is playing this weekend.

“That ankle is still pretty swollen and bruised,” Hudson said. “We want to put this injury behind us, so we’re hoping with a day off, she’ll be ready to go this weekend.”

The Lady Toppers will travel to the Xavier Tournament in Cincinnati, where Hudson said Skinner’s presence is needed.

“Jordyn really has shown her toughness,” he said. “She just gives us that boost.”