WKU Volleyball finish non-conference schedule with victory against Indiana


Arthur Trickett-Wile

WKU Hilltoppers’ fifth-year defensive specialist Logan Kael (18) and fifth-year setter Nadia Dieudonne (2) dive for a missed block during a volleyball match in Diddle Arena, against the Austin Peay Governors on Friday evening, Sept. 17, 2021.

Piper McCoun, Sports Reporter

WKU Volleyball (12-2) defeated the Indiana University Hoosiers (7-5)  3-1 in the final game of its non-conference schedule Saturday afternoon in Diddle Arena, wrapping up the WKU Volleyball invitational.

The Hilltopper offense was outstanding against the Hoosiers. WKU finished the match with 49 kills, 43 assists and four service aces. The Hilltopper defense was solid as well. They finished the game with 16 total blocks and 47 digs. 

Senior Paige Briggs shined in Saturday’s match-up. Briggs finished the game with 20 kills and a .425 hitting percentage. Fifth-year senior Lauren Mathhews was amazing as well. Matthews had 10 kills and 14.5 points. Fifth-year senior Katie Isenbarger anchored the defense with a pair of blocks and five kills. 

 The first set began slowly for the Hilltoppers. Indiana went on an 8-2 run, credited to kills by Indiana outside hitter Mady Saris and service errors by WKU. 

WKU committed  three service errors in just the first 11 points of the game. Indiana continued its push to 25 by taking advantage of Hilltopper service errors and kills from IU pin hitters.

 An Indiana service ace forced a Hilltopper timeout at 14-7. Coming out of the break, WKU went on a 4-1 run to narrow the margin and bring the set to 15-11. After trading a few points, the Hilltoppers went on a run of their own, scoring five straight points and forcing a Hoosier timeout in between, bringing the score to 18-17. 

Indiana scored four consecutive points after the WKU run, forcing a Hilltopper timeout. WKU scored a couple of kills but ultimately dropped the first set to the Hoosiers 19-25. 

The Hilltoppers came with more urgency in the second set. Although Indiana opened the set with a kill, the Hilltoppers were able to take advantage of errors made by Indiana to bring the set to 2-2. Indiana went on to complete a 3-0 run scoring points off of a kill and Hilltopper errors.

The teams traded points for a while until the Hilltoppers were able to narrow the margin and bring the set to 7-6. Indiana scored several kills and was able to extend its lead to 14-8. The Hilltoppers then went on an 8-3 run. 

Six of those points were blocked by the Hilltoppers and the other two were killed by senior outside hitter Paige Briggs. Briggs killed another to tie the set at 17-17 and Indiana called a timeout. 

The last points of the set were a battle between the two teams. The Hilltoppers brought the score to a tie five different times in crunch time before an Indiana attack error and a kill by fifth-year middle hitter Lauren Matthews allowed WKU to close the set 26-24. 

Set three was an absolute blowout for the Hilltoppers. WKU opened the set with a kill from sophomore rightside hitter Kenadee Coyle. WKU was the first to three points, but the Hoosiers trailed close behind and were able to bring it to a tie at 3-3. 

After that, the Hilltoppers went on a 10-1 scoring run, bringing the game to 13-4. All of these points can be credited to a collective effort by the Hilltopper offense that scored seven kills during the run.

When the score hit 14-5, WKU went on a 5-0 run and brought the set to a very comfortable 14-point lead at 19-5. The Hilltoppers traded point points with the Hoosiers and brought the set to 22-11. WKU closed out the set with a 3-1 run and beat the Hoosiers 25-12. 

Indiana opened set four with greater urgency, going on a 6-2 run in response to the last set. The Hoosiers and Hilltoppers went back and forth trading points and the set came to 8-6 with WKU trailing. 

After going point-for-point with WKU, Indiana went on a 3-0 run to extend its lead mid-set, forcing a Hilltopper timeout at 14-9. WKU responded out of the timeout with a 3-0 run at 16-13 which inevitably forced an Indiana timeout. The Hoosiers maximized on a few WKU errors and the Hoosiers hit back with a 3-0 run of their own out of a timeout.

The pace began to change for Indiana at 20-15.  WKU went on a 4-1 run and the Hoosiers called a timeout at 21-19. The Hoosiers were able to maintain a two-point lead on the Hilltoppers until the score hit 23-21.

The No. 21 ranked team in the nation went on a 4-0 run with a kill from Briggs, two blocks and a kill by fifth-year middle hitter Katie Isenbarger. The Hilltoppers poured every last bit of energy they had into the last points of the match and claimed victory at 25-23. 

The Hilltoppers begin conference play on the road against the UAB Blazers on Friday, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. CT. at Bartow Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.

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