WKU opens LUV Invitational with 3-1 defeat of Lipscomb


Credit: WKU Athletics

WKU Junior Lauren Matthews (5), WKU Junior Katie Isenbarger (20) WKU Senior Kayland Jackson (15) celebrate during the game against FIU on Monday, March 8, 2021 in Diddle Arena. 

Cassady Lamb, Volleyball reporter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – No. 15 ranked WKU (4-0, 0-0 C-USA) took on Lipscomb (1-3, 0-0 ASUN) on Friday night, defeating the Bisons 3-1. The match marked WKU’s first appearance in the LUV Invitational. 

The last time WKU played a match against Lipscomb was on Sept. 12, 2017, sweeping the Bisons 3-0. The last time Lipscomb won against the Lady Toppers was back in 2009. 

“What won this match for us is our ability to serve and pass,” head coach Travis Hudson said after the match via radio interview.

Senior middle hitter Lauren Matthews hit 15 kills, junior outside hitter Paige Briggs hit 14 kills and two aces, fifth-year right side Kayland Jackson hit 10 kills and senior middle hitter Katie Isenbarger hit 9 kills and two aces.

Matthews, Jackson and Isenbarger all maintained .300 hitting clips and above. fifth-year setter Nadia Dieudonne assisted 45 points. 

Set 1 

Lipscomb saw an early 4-0 scoring run that included two blocks and two kills. WKU put its first point up after a kill by Matthews. 

The Bisons were able to jump out to a six-point lead, but it was shortened 9-5 following kills from Briggs and Isenbarger as well as the first ace of the set from Dieudonne. 

“She played good from beginning to end,” Hudson said regarding senbarger. He added that she was the best-playing middle hitter of the match. 

The score was knotted up 9-9 after the Lady Toppers went on a 6-0 run. Lipscomb shot back with its own four-point run. WKU took its first timeout of the match after Bison Kamryn Bacus hit a kill, bringing the score to 15-10. 

“We weren’t executing, and we weren’t doing the things we should have been doing,” Isenbarger said. 

Jackson came out of the timeout with a kill. A block by junior outside hitter Avri Davis and Matthews followed, with the Toppers still trailing 16-12. 

WKU shortened Lipscomb’s lead to 18-15 after the Lady Toppers’ second ace of the night by fifth-year defensive specialist Hallie Shelton and a kill by Matthews. A Lipscomb timeout followed. 

Set one reached setpoint following a kill by Lipscomb’s Addi Pelham. WKU then brought in three points with kills from Jackson and Matthews. Lipscomb took the first set of the match 25-21 following a WKU service error. 

“It was very uncharacteristic of our team,” Hudson said regarding the team dropping set one.

Set 2 

WKU was first to get points at the start of the second set with a kill by Matthews and a block by Dieudonne.

The Bisons then clawed back for a 5-4 lead, but were shortly overtaken by the Lady Toppers after a kill by Briggs and a Lipscomb attack error. 

An ace by Briggs brought up the Lady Toppers’ lead to two points. Lipscomb was able to knot up the score 10-10 after a WKU service error and a block to a Hilltopper ball. 

A kill by Briggs, a Bison attack error and an ace by fifth-year defensive specialist Logan Kael brought in a 14-11 lead for the Lady Toppers. 

A block by Jackson and Isenbarger followed by a solo block from Isenbarger led to WKU taking a four-point advantage, which was then followed by a Lipscomb timeout. WKU was first to 20 points, while Lipscomb held 15 points. 

Lipscomb called a timeout after Matthews hit a kill and sophomore defensive specialist Cameron Mosley hit an ace, bringing the score to 22-15. 

Freshman outside hitter Katie Howard saw her first kill of the match, 23-16. Back-to-back kills by Matthews brought in both setpoint and a 25-17 set win for WKU. 

Set 3 

Lipscomb was first to get a point to begin the third set. A kill by Briggs put WKU’s first point on the scoreboard. 

WKU jumped up to an early three-point lead after Isenbarger hit back-to-back aces and an overhit Lipscomb ball went out, resulting in an attack error. The Lady Toppers’ lead was pushed to 13-6 after WKU went on four and five-point runs. 

Howard’s second kill of the match was followed by an ace from Shelton and a solo block from Matthews. These three plays resulted in a 16-8 lead for WKU and a Lipscomb timeout. 

A six-point scoring run, which included a kill by Briggs, an ace by Dieudonne and a block by Isenbarger, brought WKU’s lead up to 13 points, 23-10. 

A kill by Jackson led to setpoint and Briggs’ second ace of the match brought in the third set for WKU 25-11. 

Set 4

A kill by Jackson began the fourth and final set of the night. WKU was able to take an early 6-2 lead with two kills by Briggs and a kill by Isenbarger. These plays were followed by a Bison timeout. 

Three kills from Briggs followed the timeout. WKU saw an 11-5 lead after a block by both Jackson and Isenbarger. WKU saw another six-point advantage at 18-12 and Lipscomb called its second timeout of the set. 

Dieudonne came out of the timeout with an ace. Two Lipscomb attack errors brought WKU’s scoring run up to 5-0 with a score of 21-12. A kill by Bison Kamryn Bacus stopped the Lady Toppers’ dominating run. 

A kill by Matthews with an assist by Dieudonne led to match point. A kill by Lipscomb’s Pelham followed. WKU closed out Friday’s match after a kill by Matthews brought in the fourth set 25-17. 

The LUV Invitational continues tomorrow with WKU facing Kansas at noon CT and Wake Forest at 4:30 p.m. CT. Both matches will have streaming opportunities on ESPN+. Fans can also tune into ESPN 102.7 to listen to the radio broadcasts of the matches with play-by-play provided by Brett Williams. 

“The challenges are great tomorrow,” Hudson said. “We’ll have to play better than we did today.”

Isenbarger shared that her team has to come out ready and locked in for tomorrow’s matches.

“’The harder it gets, the more we like our chances’ is what Travis says,” Isenbarger said.

Volleyball beat reporter Cassady Lamb can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @lambp0p.