WKU Volleyball extends winning streak over FIU to 19

The+Hilltoppers+huddle+during+a+timeout+during+their+home+matchup+with+FIU+on+Friday%2C+Sept.+30%2C+2022+in+E.A.+Diddle+Arena+on+WKU+Campus+in+Bowling+Green%2C+Ky.+WKU+won+3-0.

Tucker Covey

The Hilltoppers huddle during a timeout during their home matchup with FIU on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 in E.A. Diddle Arena on WKU Campus in Bowling Green, Ky. WKU won 3-0.

Cole McIntire, Volleyball Reporter

No. 25 WKU Volleyball (15-2, 3-0 C-USA) swept the FIU Panthers (3-13, 0-3 C-USA) 3-0 in the Hilltoppers C-USA home opener Friday night at E.A. Diddle Arena. 

 The Hilltoppers added to their streak of now 19 consecutive wins against the Panthers. WKU’s all-time record against FIU is now 41-8. The Hilltoppers now stand with a record of 15-2 as they continue their phenomenal conference play.

A strength for the Hilltoppers this season has been their hitting percentage. Entering Friday’s game WKU ranked fourth in the nation in hitting percentage at .309. The Hilltoppers capitalized on their strength by earning a hitting percentage of .333 against FIU. 

The Hilltoppers were led by redshirt freshman Callie Bauer who had 24 assists and two service aces. Additionally fifth year senior Katie Isenbarger led the game in blocks with seven. Their complementary play allowed the Hilltoppers to dominate the Panthers. 

The Hilltoppers controlled the first set of play. The set began with competitive back and forth play. Once the score was 10-7 the Hilltoppers dominated the court. In the first set WKU’s hitting percentage reached .455. Another highlight of the set was WKU’s prolific serving with five service aces. The Hilltoppers won the first set 25-16.

In the second set the Hilltoppers continued their dominance. The squad asserted their competitive play with 13 kills and four blocks in the set. WKU was able to quickly establish their physicality on the court against FIU. This style rattled the Panthers as they had 10 attack errors compared to the Hilltoppers’ three. The Hilltoppers won the second set 25-17.

The third set was competitive. The Hilltoppers were once down 13-8, but a kill by Kenadee Coyle ignited a 5-0 run. The Hilltoppers continued to show their perseverance through the set. Their unrelenting attacks and blocks paved the way for their sweep. 

 Coach Hudson emphasized in his pre-game press conference one of the weaknesses in FIU. 

“One of the weaknesses with [FIU] is they struggle to move forward,” Hudson said. The Hilltoppers aimed to create short serves, forcing the FIU defense to shift toward the net.  This game plan was in full effect as the Hilltoppers had seven service aces and 12 blocks. 

The Hilltoppers’ next match will be against Charlotte on Sunday, Oct. 2 at 5 p.m. CT.

Sports reporter Cole McIntire can be reached at [email protected]