VOLLEYBALL: With weekend sweep, Western secures No. 2 seed

Amber North

The Lady Toppers just wanted their last home game to be a challenge.

They wanted seniors Cynda Derbort and Tracy May to end their final regular season match in Diddle Arena with a victory. They wanted to secure a high seed in Thursday’s conference tournament.

And they got all of the above.

Before finishing off its regular season in Murfreesboro, Tenn., with a win against Middle Tennessee Sunday, Western played one of its toughest Sun Belt Conference foes, North Texas, last Friday.

North Texas boasts preseason Sun Belt Player of the Year Corina Marginas, a senior outside hitter with a powerful arm.

But that wasn’t enough to scare off the Lady Toppers on their home court.

Despite Marginas recording 18 kills, Western silenced the Mean Green defensively, allowing just a .170 hitting percentage behind the net.

The Lady Toppers took the match in four games (30-25, 30-14, 28-30, 30-23). With the win, Western locked up the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament.

New Mexico State will be the No. 1 seed.

“I’m very happy to get the win,” coach Travis Hudson said. “Tracy and Cynda did a great job, and I’m just very happy to get the win for them.”

Western won the first two games in the match, edging closer to an easy victory.

But in game three, the Lady Toppers’ eagerness to finish off North Texas took a toll on them.

Western tried to come back and win later into the game when they got as close as 28-29, but it wasn’t enough.

“I’m a little disappointed in the complacency we showed in game three,” Hudson said. “This is not the time of year to be messing with that. It almost appeared as if we assumed the game was over.”

The Lady Toppers made up for their mistakes in Game Four to cement the victory. Sophomore setter Caron Blotch, who leads the conference with 13.32 assists per game, had 57 assists on the match.

May and Derbort were both happy seniors after the win.

“I’m excited, but I don’t think we played with the intensity that I wanted,” May said. “I didn’t focus on being sad – the game was huge and I didn’t focus on it being the end for me.”

Derbort said the best present on Senior Night was a win.

“It’s important that we won the game because it’s the last game in Diddle before the tournament begins,” Derbort said. “It’s good we ended it on a winning note.”

The Lady Toppers took two days off to prepare for their final regular season match against the Blue Raiders.

Western (26-6, 12-2 SBC) defeated MTSU (14-18, 5-9) in three games (30-19, 30-22, 30-26).

Sophomore Crystal Towler had 17 kills for the match on a .600 hitting percentage.

“Caron and I are really connecting, and I’m glad it’s coming right now,” Towler said.

Reach Amber North at [email protected]