LAFAYETTE, La.—The Western Kentucky University volleyball team (16-5, 6-1) had a trio of Lady Toppers with 16 kills each, but the team’s effort fell just short, as WKU fell 3-2 (28-26, 20-25, 25-11, 23-25, 13-15) against Louisiana-Lafayette (13-8, 3-4) on Sunday afternoon at Earl K. Long Gym.
The loss snaps an impressive Sun Belt Conference streak set by the team, as it is the first loss against a league opponent since October 4, 2011, making it 38-straight matches won. It also breaks a 10-game win streak for this season, as WKU hasn’t lost since a sweep of UNLV on September 14.
Highlighting the three kill leaders was senior Janee’ Diggins, as the Indianapolis native posted a new career high with the 16 kills, besting her 13 against MTSU in 2011 and season-best seven kills against Florida A&M.
Redshirt senior Paige Wessel and sophomore Noelle Langenkamp also had 16 kills each, as each of their efforts also set career marks in different ways. With 25 kills over the two weekend games, Wessel now has over 1,000 kills in her career while 16 kills is also a career high in a match for Langenkamp.
Senior Melanie Stutsman posted her third double-double of the year with 57 assists and 11 digs. Senior Ashley Potts added 28 digs in the contest while freshman Georgia O’Connell recorded 11 digs.
A tight match from the get-go, WKU jumped ahead 6-3 in the first set after four-straight points, including two kills from Langenkamp, a kill from Wessel and a block assist from the pair. The home team worked its way back, notching one of its largest leads at 12-9. From there, the set saw 12 tied scores and five lead changes before a kill and ace from Langenkamp sealed the win 28-26 for WKU.
Tied at 6 in the second frame, ULL gained momentum with a 6-1 run to pull ahead 12-7 and force a WKU timeout. Pulling away as much as seven points at 20-13, ULL let WKU only within four on its way to a 25-20 win before the break.
WKU controlled the third set from the beginning, as an ace from Stutsman made it 3-0 before a block from Stutsman and Boyan set the score at 14-4 and have ULL call a timeout. Diggins tabbed her fifth kill of the set at 20-8, as WKU cruised to a 25-11 win.
Quickly ahead 7-2 after laying down five kills, WKU extends the advantage to 14-9 to force the Ragin’ Cajuns to the benches. After the timeout, ULL worked its way back to be down by one at 18-17 and continued to chip away to tie it at 22. ULL took the next point and made WKU call a timeout, but WKU would not be able to overcome ULL’s rally and fall 25-23.
A block by Langenkamp gave WKU a 5-4 lead in the fifth set, but it would be the last lead the Lady Toppers held in the frame. ULL went on a 6-1 scoring spree to pull ahead 10-6. A kill from Wessel cut the deficit to one at 13-12 and a ULL attack error set the score at 14-13, but ULL closed the set with a kill to win 15-13.
WKU stays on the road for a pair of SBC matchups next weekend, as the team faces UALR on Friday, October 18 at 7 p.m. before taking on Arkansas State at 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 19.
For more information on WKU volleyball, visit WKUSports.com or follow the team on Twitter via @TravisHudsonWKU and @WKUVolleyball.