WKU Volleyball earns 1,000th win after sweeping Bowling Green State


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.

Cole McIntire, Volleyball reporter

WKU Volleyball (28-3, 16-1 C-USA) defeated the Bowling Green State University Falcons  (22-9, 15-3 MAC) 3-0 in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Volleyball Tournament at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky. 

The Hilltoppers swept the Falcons off the hardwood in the first round of the NCAA tournament, earning WKU their 1,000th program win, 722nd with Hudson at the helm. 

The Hilltoppers had support from their usual leaders, but senior Jennifer Rush was a cornerstone in their win. Rush put up six kills while hitting a .750 hitting percentage. Fifth year seniors Katie Isenbarge and Lauren Matthews along with senior Paige Briggs all posted 10 kills. Isenbarger was imposing her will at the net with seven total blocks. The Hilltoppers hit a .294 as a squad, while holding the Falcons to a .221 hitting percentage. 


The first set featured the Hilltoppers leading with their impressive strength from the service line. Freshman Abby Schaefer posted the Hilltoppers’ first service ace of their post season campaign. The Hilltoppers’ pressure from the service line allowed their offense to get rolling.

Senior Jennifer Rush and Lauren Matthews created three kills in the set. Paige Briggs also stuffed two kills. WKU closed the set with a 5-1 run. The run involved multiple players: Rush posted two kills, sophomore Kenadee Coyle and freshman Callie Bauer had a kill in the run. WKU took the set 25-20.

The second set opened with Bowling Green State jumping out to a 5-2 lead. The opener was capped off by a service ace by Falcons freshman Lauryn Hovey. The Falcons would continue to capitalize on their momentum, building a 9-4 lead. They were led by senior Petra Indrova who created three kills to open the set before a WKU timeout. Following timeout the Hilltoppers came out swinging. 

Fifth-year senior Katie Isenbarger opened with a kill, then senior Jennifer Rush posted a kill. To cap off the 3-0 run senior Paige Briggs put the pressure on the Falcons with a phenomenal service ace. 

WKU would climb back into the set off consecutive errors by the Falcons. The Hilltoppers jumped out to a lead late in the set off a 7-0 run. Then Bowling Green State would creep back into the set scoring three straight, making the score 24-23 WKU. Matthews swung a fast ball right into the floor, closing the set with a resounding boom. WKU won the set 25-23.

The third set commenced with a 3-0 Bowling Green State run, led by senior Katelyn Meyer. Bowling Green State would continuously ward off the Hilltoppers, but they could not hold them for long. WKU would route a 5-0 run to put Bowling Green State on the ropes. 

Building on that run they would close the match with a 9-2 finale to sweep the Falcons. The Hilltoppers rallied to strike three consecutive lethal blows against the Falcons. 

Matthews struck with two kills and C-USA Freshman of the Year Callie Bauer delivered the ball that ended.Bowling Green State’s season. Briggs tallied four kills and one service ace in the set. Isenbarger would have a three by three in the set with three kills and three total blocks.  After picking up the win against Bowling Green State the Hilltoppers will await the winner of Kentucky and Loyola Chicago in the second round of the tournament. The game is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT, Dec. 2 at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky.