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Travis Hudson highlights freshmen middle hitters filling big roles

WKU head volleyball coach Travis Hudson waves to a record-breaking crowd following the Lady Toppers’ NCAA Volleyball Tournament Second Round match against Louisville in Diddle Arena on Dec. 6, 2019. The Lady Toppers fell to the visiting Cardinals, 3-2.

After WKU Volleyball defeated the Belmont Bruins 3-0 in their home opener on Aug. 29, Head Coach Travis Hudson drew attention to this year’s stacked lineup and how new faces were filling big roles at the post-match press conference. 

Following the loss of senior middles Lauren Matthews and Katie Isenbarger, Hudson had to find players who could rise to the challenge of replacing them. 

Since it is still early in the season, Hudson explained that he is still experimenting with lineups. “It’s not ‘this kid is struggling, we need to replace her,’” Hudson said. “[It is,] Are her strengths this kid’s weaknesses and can we balance those out.”


Hudson spotlighted the three freshman middles that have been added to the mix this season: Gabby Weihe, Izzy Van De Wiele and Logan Grevengoed. 

During the Belmont match, Grevengoed led the team in blocks with five total. 

Additionally, Weihe produced five kills and one error on eight total attacks, ending the match with a .500 hitting average. 

Hudson stressed that originally, he wasn’t sure how long it would take Van De Wiele to adjust to college volleyball, but has been impressed with her performance when called to the court. “Even in her short stint [she] had two quick blocks,” Hudson said.

Hudson also boasted about the team’s lack of hitting errors as a whole during the game against Belmont. The total for all three sets came out to seven, which he was extremely happy with. 

“I’ve been saying that this is one of the more complete teams that we’ve had here in a long time,” Hudson said. Part of this is owed to the new faces that have been added to the lineup, and what positive impacts they’re already having on the program.

Hilltopper Volleyball is off to a great start with a 3-1 record on the season. WKU will play its next match in University Park, PA, against Colgate University on Sept. 1, at 10 a.m. CST in the Penn State Invitational. 

Sports reporter Rachel Dezarn can be reached at [email protected].

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