VOLLEYBALL: Lady Tops lack mistakes in sweep

Amber North

The Lady Toppers didn’t want to go on the road last weekend thinking their matches were going to be easy wins.

But they defeated New Orleans and South Alabama as if it wasn’t a problem.

“On the road it’s not easy, but certainly we were the more talented team against them,” coach Travis Hudson said.

Friday, Western flew to New Orleans to face the Privateers, who are usually tough in their home gym. But because of a concert, the match was held at Alario Arena, the New Orleans Hornets’ practice facility.

Junior Amanda Schiff led the way for the Lady Toppers, recording 15 kills and six blocks en route to a Western victory in three (30-22, 30-18, 30-17).

Game One set the match off early for Western after an early 12-2 lead. UNO (8-16, 2-6 SBC) tried to rally in the latter part of the match, but to no avail.

“It was important that we came out to establish early, and we were able to do that and succeed in finishing them off,” Hudson said.

Western traveled to Mobile, Ala., Saturday to play the Jaguars, where Schiff had another stellar performance, posting 15 kills with a .714 hitting percentage.

“Last year I’ve been more up and down with my hitting, so I’m just getting the job done,” Schiff said. “I didn’t make many mistakes – I cut that down this weekend.”

During the spring, Schiff practiced her hitting and blocking, and with the numbers she put up last weekend, she has been doing the team justice.

“All year long she’s been the one to give it to us consistently,” Hudson said.

Alongside Schiff in the stat book was sophomore Crystal Towler, who had a .733 hitting percentage and 11 kills.

South Alabama had lost a crucial match against Middle Tennessee Friday before hosting Western. The Lady Toppers caught the Jaguars flat and eased their way to another sweep (30-22, 30-12, 30-20), giving Hudson his fourth consecutive 20-win season.

The Jaguars got as close as scoring 22 points against Western (20-6, 7-2 Sun Belt Conference) in the first game, but could not match Western’s adrenaline rush in the last two games.

The Lady Toppers return to Diddle Arena tonight to face Austin Peay, their last non-conference match of the season.

The Governors (11-11, 6-4 Ohio Valley Conference) lost in three to Western in the IU Credit Union Invitational earlier this season.

But that was back in September.

“I’m concerned about us overlooking them,” Hudson said. “It’s important we realize it’s two months later and a lot has changed.”

Reach Amber North at [email protected]