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WKU Volleyball sweeps Coastal Carolina in first round of NCAA Volleyball Championship

The+Hilltoppers+celebrate+a+point+during+their+match-up+against+Coastal+Carolina+University+on+Dec.+1%2C+2023.+WKU+posted+a+.478+hitting+percentage+over+the+three+sets.
Molly St. Clair
The Hilltoppers celebrate a point during their match-up against Coastal Carolina University on Dec. 1, 2023. WKU posted a .478 hitting percentage over the three sets.

No.6 seed Western Kentucky Volleyball swept Coastal Carolina in round one of the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship held in Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee.

WKU finished hitting with 52 kills, 37 digs and six blocks. The Hilltoppers match hitting percentage was .478% compared to Coastal Carolina’s .330%. 

WKU’s cheer team, dance team, band and Big Red followed the team to Knoxville. The arena was full of Topper spirit as WKU secured their 30th win in a row. 

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The first set started tight, but the Hilltoppers won 25-14, putting them ahead 1-0 against Coastal Carolina. Callie Bauer, a redshirt sophomore setter, put down the final point with a kill to the redshirt junior outside hitter Jasmine Rivest. 

WKU claimed 16 kills and four service aces, hitting at .519%. Coastal Carolina gathered 11 kills out of 27 total attempts. 

The second set proved to be much more competitive with multiple impressive saves from both teams. WKU pulled away in the end with a final score of 25-20, tallying 19 kills. 

Junior outside hitter Kaylee Cox was on fire beside fifth year outside hitter Paige Briggs. Cox caught eight digs and 11 kills throughout the two sets, compared to Briggs’ 12 kills. 

WKU came into the third set with a slower momentum. Coastal Carolina stuck with the Hilltoppers until late in the set with four straight kills putting them up 21-20.

 “I don’t think we did a great job of [staying competitive] later in the match,” Head Coach Travis Hudson said. “[They] start thinking about the end result and get away from doing the things play-by-play that you need to do. So that last timeout was to kind of reel us back in,” he explained of his last timeout in the third set.

Cox then made a block to put WKU at match point, followed by a kill to take the victory in a nail biting set (25-23). She amassed 17 kills with a .462 hitting percentage. Defensively she grabbed nine digs and three blocks. 

Briggs led with 18 kills and a .531 hitting percentage. 

Hilltopper volleyball will play Dec. 2 at 5 P.M. CST against the winner of the Tennessee vs. High Point match. The second round game will be held at Tennessee’s home arena. If Tennessee takes the victory, they will have a home advantage in Knoxville. 

 

Sports reporter Shelby Huelsman can be reached at [email protected].

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