Chapel Hill, N.C. — After dropping a five-game match to Villanova earlier in the day, the Western Kentucky University volleyball team bounced back Friday afternoon to post a 3-1 win (30-26, 30-23, 28-30, 32-30) over American to close out the opening day of the Carolina Classic at Carmichael Auditorium.
The Lady Toppers (7-2) will finish their weekend on Saturday with an 11 a.m. (CDT) match against host North Carolina.
WKU posted over 20 kills in all four games on the victory over American, finishing the match with a season-high 85 kills. Four Lady Toppers recorded double-digit kills, led by Megan Argabright and her match-high 20. Aquila Orr tied a career high with 15 kills, while Brittany Bowen and Jenna Gideon added 13 each. Bowen’s total was also a career high.
After posting convincing wins in the first two games, the Lady Toppers appeared to be on their way to finishing off the match when they led 26-23 late in game three. However, the Eagles (4-4) rattled off five straight points to take a 28-26 lead of their own following a Cassandra Ricketts service ace. Kills by Gideon and Argabright pulled WKU back even at 28-28, but American recorded the next two points to force a fourth game with the two-point win.
The Lady Toppers came out of the gate strong in the fourth game as they recorded kills on each of their first eight swings to grab an early 11-6 lead. The Eagles came back with three straight to pull within two, but WKU scored five unanswered points of its own to make it a 16-9 game following a kill from Gideon.
WKU’s lead grew to nine when a kill from Julia Noe made it 19-10, but American again fought back to make it a 23-21 game. The Lady Toppers pulled back out to a four-point lead, and got to match point when a Bowen kill made it a 29-27 game. The Eagles again stayed alive with back-to-back points to tie the game at 29-29 before Noe gave WKU another match point with a kill. A Chelsea Brooks kill tied the game at 30-30, but a Lady Topper block followed by an Abbie Siljendahl kill closed out the victory for WKU.
To go along with the solid offensive numbers, Kelly Hofmeyer added a match-high 20 digs, while Noe posted 11 digs to go along with nine kills and a season-high 61 assists.
WKU opened the tournament with a five-game loss to Villanova (21-30, 30-22, 27-30, 30-24, 9-15). Argabright led the Lady Toppers with 11 kills, while Orr added 10. After dropping a nine-point decision in game one, the Lady Toppers were able to rebound in game two to record 13 kills and hold the Wildcats (3-2) to a -.033 hitting percentage to even up the match with a 30-22 win.
For the second time in three games, Villanova hit better than .400 as it recorded a team-best 16 kills and hit .406 to pull out a close 30-27 win in game three. After falling behind early, the Lady Toppers fought back to claim a 22-21 lead on a kill from Bowen. However, the Wildcats rattled off four straight to regain the lead for good. After a Whitney Harrington block got VU go game point, WKU scored two straight to stay alive before a Alona Cherkez kill closed out the contest.
The Lady Toppers put together their best performance of the match in game four as they knocked down 20 kills en route to a convincing 30-24 victory to force a fifth and deciding game. Unfortunately for WKU, Villanova scored seven of the first 10 points in the finale and never looked back on its way to a 15-9 win. The Lady Toppers committed eight attack errors in the fifth game as the Wildcats recorded five of the 14 team blocks.