WKU Volleyball falls to Wildcats to end NCAA Tournament run


Arthur H. Trickett-Wile

WKU Hilltoppers break before their volleyball game against the Ole Miss Rebels on the evening of Sept. 10, 2021, at Diddle Arena. WKU lost 3-1.

Jake McMahon, Sports reporter

WKU Volleyball (29-4) saw its 2022 season come to a close in a 3-0 sweep against the University of Kentucky Wildcats (22-7) in the second round of the NCAA Volleyball Tournament Friday at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington.

Senior Paige Briggs stood out in the loss. She led the Hilltoppers in kills with 10 and also topped the squad in digs with seven. Lauren Matthews also played well in the match. The fifth-year senior ended her last collegiate game with nine kills.

As a team, WKU hit .274 in the contest. The Hilltoppers had 36 kills and 35 digs in the game. The Hilltoppers couldn’t get anything going from the service line as WKU ended the night with zero service aces and 10 service errors. In contrast, UK completed 10 aces.

Both teams stayed close early in set one. The Hilltoppers and Wildcats stayed equal through the first 10 serves making the score 5-5. However, the Wildcats began to find their stride. UK went on a 7-1 run, taking the lead 11-6.

The Hilltoppers were able to gain some momentum, going on a 4-1 run and making it a two-point game 12-10. That’s as close as the Hilltoppers would get in the first set. The Wildcats comfortably took the set 25-17. 

The second set of the game started similarly to the first. The squads split the first eight points tying the set 4-4. But just like the first set, the Wildcats started to find separation.

UK went on a 5-1 run to take the lead 9-5. The Wildcats continued to put more space in the score as a 10-3 run put UK up 22-12. The Hilltoppers tried their hardest to make a comeback late but a service error by redshirt freshman Callie Bauer ended the set 25-16.

The Hilltoppers, playing for their season in the third set, came out on fire.

WKU opened up set three on a 9-3 run, but the Wildcats clawed right back in the game. UK went on a 10-2 run to take the lead, 13-11.

The Hilltoppers held close to the Wildcats throughout the set but were never able to get over the hump. A kill by the Wildcats sent the Hilltoppers home and ended the sweep 25-21.   

The 2022 season has ended for the Hilltoppers while UK will be moving on to the Sweet Sixteen.