LOUISVILLE, Ky.- After an opening weekend of tough opponents at the Active Ankle Challenge in Louisville, Ky., the Western Kentucky University volleyball team (1-2) split the final day, taking a 3-0 setback against No. 3 Penn State (2-0) and then immediately after getting a 3-0 sweep over Morehead State (0-3) on Saturday.
For the two games, senior Jordyn Skinner had 20 kills followed by redshirt junior Paige Wessel's 12. Junior Melanie Stutsman had 51 assists. Defensively, junior Ashley Potts led with 32 digs, as Skinner and sophomore Heather Boyan led at the net with six blocks each followed by junior Lindsay Spears' five.
Game One-No. 3 Penn St. 3, WKU 0
Playing one of its highest ranked opponents in program history, WKU took a 3-0 setback (10-25, 22-25, 22-25) against No. 3 Penn State (2-0) in the team's first game of the day.
Offensively, Skinner recorded a team-high seven kills and two service aces. Wessel and Boyan added five each while freshman Haley Bodway notched three. Stutsman put up 25 assists while Potts recorded 15 digs.
For Penn State, Ariel Scott led the team with 15 kills while Katie Slay notched 11 kills and .421 hitting percentage.
Penn State opened the match on a scoring surge in set one, reaching an early 4-0 lead before WKU climbed back to set the score at 7-5, thanks to kills from freshman Noelle Langenkamp, Wessel and Boyan plus an ace from Skinner. With the Lady Toppers calling a break at 10-5 in favor of the opponent, Penn State rattled off 10-straight points en route to a 25-10 set win.
Stutsman opened set two with an ace, as WKU rolled out to an early 3-1 lead. The momentum stayed with the Lady Toppers early, as back-to-back kills from junior Janee' Diggins and one from Wessel helped WKU to a 6-3 advantage. The Nittany Lions rallied back with a 4-0 scoring run to take their first lead of the set at 7-6. After a WKU timeout, Lady Toppers capitalized on six Penn State errors, going up 14-11.
Holding steady, WKU went up 17-14 in the second set before Penn State took the lead at 22-18. A kill from Skinner and Penn State mistakes cut the deficit to 22-21 to force a Nittany Lion timeout, but Penn State came out of it to take the set 25-22.
After Penn State took the first point of the third set, WKU grabbed a 4-2 lead sparked by kills from Skinner and Diggins plus a block from Skinner and Boyan. The teams then got into a stalemate, trading points with 10 tied scores and five lead changes before Penn State took the lead at 19-15. The Nittany Lions got to set point at 24-20, but back-to-back kills from Bodway put the set at 24-22 and forced a Penn State timeout. Out of the break, a Penn State kill gave it the set at 25-22 and the match.
Game Two-WKU 3, Morehead State 0
The Lady Toppers took their first win of the 2012 season in a dominating fashion, as the team swept Morehead State 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-17).
Individually, Skinner tabbed her second double-double of the season with 13 kills and 11 digs. Three Lady Toppers hit over .400 plus no errors-Stutsman hit .583 with 26 assists, Wessel hit .538 while Bodway posted a .429 hitting percentage.
As a team, WKU led in nearly every statistical category. The Lady Toppers posted a .240 hitting percentage compared to the Eagles' .018 while out-blocking them 10-8.
WKU got out to a quick 9-5 advantage over the Eagles in the opening set, courtesy of the arm of Boyan after she tabbed two kills and an ace in that scoring span. Back-to-back blocks, including a solo from Boyan and assist by Skinner and Langenkamp, gave WKU one of its largest leads of the game at 15-9. The Lady Toppers kept the Eagles at bay to take the win 25-19
After a 2-0 lead by Morehead State opened set two, WKU climbed back after four-straight points to grab a lead that it held until the Eagles tied the game at 9. However, WKU would never relinquish its lead, using a team effort to seal the set at 25-16.
Set three saw two lead changes between the teams before either reached five points in the contest. WKU started out ahead at 4-3 before the flip-flop and the Eagles led 4-5. A block from Spears and Skinner tied it up at 5 before WKU continued to use its net defense for a 6-0 run to lead 11-6. Morehead State would never get within less than four points the rest of the set, as WKU took it 25-17.
WKU will have its home opener against Austin Peay on Tuesday, August 28 at 7 p.m. CT.