ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The Western Kentucky University volleyball team (13-3) closed out the Coke/Michigan Invitational with a 3-1 win (25-21, 25-11, 20-25, 25-15) against Eastern Michigan (10-6) Saturday to go a perfect 3-0 for the weekend after defeating Duke and No. 22 Michigan on Friday.
Four Lady Toppers entered double-digit kills in the match, led by redshirt junior Paige Wessel’s 15 kills and .464 hitting percentage. Senior Jordyn Skinner had her third double-double of the tournament with 12 kills and 16 digs while freshman Haley Bodway also registered 12 kills. Sophomore Heather Boyan added 11 kills, as WKU had 61 for the match.
Four Lady Toppers also had double-digit digs with junior Ashley Potts collecting a game-high 24. Along with Potts and Skinner, senior Sarah Rogers tabbed 15 digs while freshman Rachel Engle put up 10.
WKU took an early lead to open the first set, as back-to-back kills from Skinner and Wessel put the Lady Toppers ahead 12-8. After an EMU timeout, the Eagles tried to work out of the deficit, using a 4-1 run to cut WKU’s lead 13-12. However, WKU put together a scoring run of its own, as a 6-2 spree that consisted of kills from Boyan and Stutsman plus three EMU miscues increased the lead to 19-14. The Lady Toppers would go on to win the set 25-21.
Using 15 kills and four aces in the contest, WKU took a dominating 25-11 second-set win over EMU. A Rogers ace started the set, as the Lady Toppers broke out with a 6-2 advantage. Ahead 15-10, WKU put up an onslaught of points with seven in a row. During that span, Wessel added three kills, Bodway had one kill plus a block with freshman Noelle Langenkamp, and Skinner posted an ace. The team continued on, as WKU closed out the set with three-straight points.
The Eagles came out aggressive in the third set to take a 25-20 win in the frame. Despite EMU grabbing only one more kill than the Lady Toppers at 16, the Eagles’ net defense gave them four blocks to gain the advantage in the set. WKU held off set point two times with a kill by Wessel to make the game 24-19 and a block from Wessel and Boyan to set the game at 24-20, but EMU would go on to win its first set of the match.
Despite both teams showing a competitive spirit in the fourth set, WKU held on to an edge for the entire contest, taking a 9-6 lead after kills from five different Lady Toppers and joint block from Wessel and Langenkamp. EMU was in striking distance at 12-10, but a kill from Boyan sparked a 5-1 run to boost WKU ahead 17-11 and force the Eagles to the benches. WKU didn’t let up the rest of the set, and a Potts ace sealed the win at 25-15.
WKU closes out non-conference play on Tuesday, September 18 when the team travels to Nashville to face Belmont at 6 p.m.