Bowling Green, Ky. — Just 24 hours after a dramatic five-game win over North Texas, the Western Kentucky University volleyball team found itself in another battle Saturday night. And, again, the Lady Toppers came out on top as they picked up a 3-1 victory (33-31, 31-29, 23-30, 30-23) over Denver at E.A. Diddle Arena.
The win extended WKU’s season-long winning streak to seven matches as it improved to 15-3 overall and 4-0 in the Sun Belt Conference. The Pioneers fell to 8-9 and 2-2 in the league.
Each club put up its best offensive numbers in game one, and the contest was tight throughout as the teams found themselves deadlocked 19 times. Denver — which posted 20 kills and hit .410 in the opener — held a 28-26 lead late following a kill by Alyta Baris, but Megan Argabright followed with a kill of her own and Lyndsey Gould served an ace to tie things up a 28-28. DU’s Kim Muller and Argabright traded kills as the teams were against knotted at 30-30, but Holy Benson put down a kill for the Pioneers to give them a one-point lead. However, a DU attack error followed by a Jenna Gideon kill gave WKU a 33-31 victory in the opening game.
The Pioneers came out aggressive in game two as they scored eight of the first nine points and led a majority of the contest. In fact, WKU trailed 20-15 before a kill by Argabright sparked a 5-0 run to even the game at 20-20. The Lady Toppers were able to take their first lead since the opening point of the game when an Abbie Siljendahl kill made it 24-23, and WKU would get to game point when a kill by Gideon stretched the advantage to 29-26. However, DU got a kill from Kerry Porter to start a run of three unanswered points to tie the game at 29-29 before Argabright and Julia Noe recorded back-to-back kills to give WKU a 2-0 lead in the match with a 31-29 victory.
The Lady Toppers were able to pull out to an early four-point lead in the third game, but would go on to hit a match-low .026 in the contest as the Pioneers seized control late. With the score tied 17-17, Denver went on an 8-3 run to pull out to a 25-20 lead on a block by Porter and Holly Benson. DU would stretch its lead to 28-22 with three straight points and stay alive in the match with a 30-23 victory.
The Lady Toppers regrouped to post their best hitting percentage of the match in game four — committing just two attack errors and hitting .382. Despite the solid offensive numbers, WKU again found itself in a battle as the teams would find themselves tied 13 times. However, with the score even at 17-17, the Lady Toppers went on a 4-1 run to pull out to a 21-18 lead. Denver would get no closer than two points the rest of the way as pulled away in the closing points to pick up the victory with a 30-23 win in game four.
Five Lady Toppers posted double-figure kills in the match, led by a season-high 19 from Gideon. Argabright posted 18 kills, while Aquila Orr and Noe added 11 each. Brittany Bowen came off the bench to record 10 kills. Gideon also led the Lady Toppers with a .424 hitting percentage. Noe finished just two digs shy of her second straight triple-double as she added 53 assists and eight digs. Kelly Hofmeyer led the defense with a match-best 19 digs on the night. Porter paced Denver with 16 kills, while Muller and Alyssa Hampton added 13 each. Hampton also finished with 11 digs for DU.
The Lady Toppers step away from conference play on Tuesday (Oct. 2) as they travel to Cincinnati for a 6:30 p.m. (CDT) matchup with the Bearcats. WKU will be at home again next weekend to host Arkansas State on Friday (Oct. 5) and UALR on Saturday (Oct. 6).