Diddle makes a difference

Amber North

For the entire 2002 season, the Western volleyball team had to play its matches in the Preston Center. The team’s normal home, Diddle Arena, was under construction.

The Lady Toppers finally got their reward as they played their first home match in the newly renovated arena, the only team to do so this semester.

And what a difference it made.

“A lot of players were glad to be in Diddle and excited to be in front of the home crowd,” coach Travis Hudson said.

Coming off a harsh weekend losses to Kansas and Northern Illinois, the Lady Toppers came onto the freshly polished floor to put on a show for the fans Tuesday night against Lipscomb.

Junior Amanda Cecil helped pace the Lady Toppers to defeat the Lady Bisons in a 3-0 sweep (30-14, 30-18, 30-20) recording her second double-double this season and collecting 14 kills and 12 digs.

Sophomore Crystal Towler and junior Amanda Schiff also added to the double-digit kills list with 11 and 10, respectively.

The Lady Toppers started off the first game on the attack, giving the Lady Bisons a taste of what was to come in the remaining two games. Western had a .500 hitting percentage for the game to Lipscomb’s .107. The Lady Tops ended the game on a 7-0 run.

And it got worse for the Lady Bisons.

Western refused to give in as it allowed Lipscomb (1-3) to hit just minus .098 in Game 2.

And the adrenaline flow continued with a 5-0 start to Game 3.

The team earned its second win of the season, bringing it to the .500 mark.

“If we don’t lose a match at home, we’ll get where we want to get,” Hudson said.

The Lady Toppers (2-2) already faced fierce competition this season, losing their first matches at the Northern Illinois Tournament.

“I think the month of September will be hard on us,” Hudson said. “I wasn’t surprised last weekend, but once we find our rhythm, we’ll be a good team.”

But just four matches into the season, the record is far from the players’ minds.

“I’m not really thinking about the record,” sophomore Jessie Wagner said. “It’s way to early to worry – games really matter in November.”

Although there isn’t a definite captain on the squad, Hudson said leadership will come.

And coming off a stellar performance, Cecil’s main focus isn’t her individual game.

“I need to step it up as a leader and play in the role that Travis needs me to play,” she said.

The team is working through a gradual process of improvement and Hudson emphasizes that it is by no means a finished product.

Western will continue to progress as it heads back on the road this weekend to Ohio to participate in the Kent State Tournament.

The Lady Toppers will face Georgia (2-1) at 4 p.m. Friday, then will play at noon and 5 p.m. Saturday against Kent State (1-2) and Morehead State (3-0) respectively.

Reach Amber North at [email protected]