WKU Volleyball continues C-USA dominance with MTSU sweep

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, Sports reporter

No. 23 WKU Volleyball (21-2, 9-0 C-USA) swept the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders (13-9, 2-6 C-USA) 3-0 Sunday afternoon in Diddle Arena. 

After clinching a landmark accomplishment of 23 consecutive 20-win seasons against Charlotte, WKU continued its dominance over Conference USA opponents at home. WKU has yet to lose a C-USA match since October of 2018. 

“I think it speaks to something deeper than talent,” head coach Travis Hudson said. “The only thing that allows you to maintain over the course of time is a culture. It’s a way of doing things, it’s the types of kids you recruit, it’s a standard that you hold them to, it’s an expectation that you have everyday.” 

Fifth-year senior Lauren Matthews led the team against MTSU. Matthews tallied 23 kills combined with two blocks and a .444 hitting percentage. Paige Briggs was also a cornerstone in the game with nine kills and a .368 hitting percentage. 

The Hilltoppers established their dominance early. WKU jumped out to a 9-3 lead to start the set with Matthews leading the Hilltoppers in this run. Matthews had four kills and one block in the impressive spark that started the first set of play. WKU had a hitting percentage of .375, three blocks and two service aces in the set. The Hilltoppers won the set 25-17.

The Hilltoppers put their ability to lead sets early on display. The Hilltoppers’ complimentary play allowed them to maintain a dominant lead throughout the set. The WKU defense was outstanding, holding MTSU to a hitting percentage of just .095 compared to WKU’s .481. Additionally, first touch was key for the Hilltoppers success. In the set they forced two service errors and four attack errors. WKU won the set 25-11.

In the third set, the Hilltoppers played with a physical offense to close out the sweep against the Blue Raiders. WKU led the kill category 16-7 in the set. The Hilltoppers’ intense play allowed them to maintain their composure whenever MTSU would gain momentum. Once again Matthews continually provided a spark as the Hilltoppers won the set 25-20.

“I also talked pregame about trying to control the tempo from the beginning,” Hudson said. “I thought we did a really good job of that. We jumped out on them in all three sets […] it was important that we played ahead.”

The Hilltoppers’ next match will be at home against the University of Alabama-Birmingham on Friday, Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. CT.

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