WKU Volleyball sweeps Hampton Inn Invitational


The WKU volleyball team celebrates as they extend their lead over West Virginia during the fourth set during the game in Diddle Arena on Mar. 12, 2021. WKU won 3-1.

Piper McCoun, Sports Reporter

WKU Volleyball (6-1) defeated the Northern Kentucky University Norse (1-5) Saturday afternoon in Bowling Green, Ohio. The Hilltoppers finished the Hampton Inn Invitational undefeated.

NKU’s defense had no answer for WKU in the final game of the tournament. The Hilltoppers racked up 38 total kills and 37 assists over the course of three sets. The Hiltopper defense was also spectacular. Head coach Travis Hudson’s squad blocked 10 shots and totaled 40 digs. 

Fifth-year senior Lauren Matthews and sophomore Kenadee Coyle played outstandingly against NKU. Matthews and Coyle led the game with 11 kills each. Coyle, the right side hitter for the Hilltoppers, led the game with a hitting percentage of .450. 

Set one started off with a kill by Matthews, setting the tone for WKU. NKU had two service errors early in the game that would result in a 4-2 Hilltopper lead. Service errors were a problem for both teams in the opening set.

 WKU tallied four service errors and five attack errors. NKU committed six attack errors and four service errors. NKU started to gain separation with a 4-0 run midway through the first set, leading 15-11. 

Matthews stopped the bleeding with a kill shot, narrowing the deficit to three. The Hilltoppers trailed by as much as five in the first set. 

Senior Paige Briggs would ignite a 4-0 Hilltopper run that would give them motivation they needed to complete the comeback. The score was 17-18. NKU committed a service error late in the game that tied the score 19-19. 

WKU did not hesitate to steal the game away. WKU scored two quick points, taking a 21-19 lead. The Norse would tack on two more points from a kill and attack error by WKU senior Jennifer Rush.

Matthews and Briggs provided back-to-back kill shots to give WKU a two point lead in crunch time. The Norse followed the small run with an attack error, giving the Hilltoppers set-point. Matthews closed the opening set with a kill shot. WKU won 25-23

Fifth-year senior Katie Isenbarger started set two with a service ace that would spark a 3-0 WKU run. The Norse responded with a kill of their own to stop the bleeding. NKU committed two attack errors that extended WKU’s lead to five, 12-7. 

Both teams traded scores until two straight service aces brought NKU within two. Both teams would trade scores for the next few minutes until Matthews committed a service error, bringing NKU within one point, WKU led 19-18. WKU did not panic. 

The Hilltoppers ended the set on 6-2 run. Matthews and Briggs scored two kills to close out the Norse. WKU won set two 25-20.

The Hilltoppers destroyed the Norse in the third set. The Norse started the set on a 5-2 run. WKU responded with 13 straight points, extending the lead to 15-5.

WKU junior Shannon Keck entered the game for the Hilltoppers and dominated at the net. Keck tallied three kills and three blocks during the WKU run. 

NKU could not find its offensive rhythm in the final set. The Norse only scored eight more points against WKU. The Hilltoppers comfortably won the final set 25-13.

The Hilltoppers will return to Bowling Green having finished the weekend 3-0. WKU Volleyball will return to play on Thursday against Northern University in the University Plaza Invitational hosted by WKU.

Sports reporter Piper McCoun can be reached at can be reached at [email protected]