Chapel Hill, N.C. — The Western Kentucky University volleyball team closed out the third weekend of the regular season with another impressive performance, picking up a 3-1 win (30-26, 30-21, 19-30, 30-26) over North Carolina on Saturday afternoon to finish off their time at the Carolina Volleyball Classic.
The Lady Toppers — who went 2-1 on the weekend — improved to 8-2 on the year. By virtue of tiebreakers with North Carolina and Villanova, the Lady Toppers won the tournament for their third championship in as many weeks.
Junior setter Julia Noe was named the tournament MVP, and was joined on the all-tournament team by junior middle hitter Megan Argabright and sophomore outside hitter Aquila Orr.
The Lady Toppers opened game one on a 10-4 run, only to see the Tarheels (3-5) score five straight to pull back within a point. WKU did not trail in the game until an attack error gave UNC an 18-17 advantage, but a kill from Orr was the first of three straight points as the Lady Toppers regained a 20-18 lead. WKU would not trail the rest of the way in the opener, getting the lead as high as five points before closing out the game on back-to-back kills from Jenna Gideon and Brittany Bowen for the 30-26 win.
WKU never trailed in game two, scoring eight of the first 10 points. The Lady Toppers would commit just three attack errors in the contest as they compiled a match-best .417 hitting percentage on their way to taking a two-game lead. A kill from Gideon gave WKU its first double-figure lead of the game at 20-10, and the advantage would grow to as much as 12 in the closing points of the game. For the second straight game, the Lady Toppers held UNC to an under .200 hitting percentage on their way to a 30-21 victory.
The Tarheels turned the tables on WKU in game three as they posted a .467 hitting percentage — committing just one error — and holding the Lady Toppers to .081 hitting percentage to stay alive in the match. UNC never trailed in the third game, scoring the first four points and storming out to an 18-8 advantage. The Lady Toppers were only able to trade points the rest of the way as the Tarheels forced a fourth game with the 11-point win.
The final contest was tied 18 times, with the teams swapping the lead on six occasions. Neither team led by more than two points until a Gideon kill sparked an 8-2 WKU run as it opened up a 28-22 lead after a Argabright kill. UNC scored four straight points to make it a two-point game, but Argabright recorded kills for the next two points as the Lady Toppers were able to secure the victory with another 30-26 win.
Argabright — who recorded 49 kills in three matches on the weekend — led WKU with a match-high 18 kills against the Tarheels. Bowen came off the bench to post a career-high 15 kills, while Gideon and Orr finished with 11 and 10, respectively. Kelly Hofmeyer led the defense with 19 digs, with Noe adding a season-high 15 digs to go along with 50 assists. Christine Vaughen paced UNC with 11 kills, and Brianna Eskola added a match-high 20 digs.
The Lady Toppers will be back on the road next weekend for the final regular-season tournament of the 2007 campaign as they take part in the Towson Invitational. WKU will join Towson, Maryland-Baltimore County and 23rd-ranked Dayton in the four-team field.