Lady Toppers Hand UALR First SBC Loss with 3-0 Win

By: Whitney Tarpy, WKU Athletic Media Relations
By: Whitney Tarpy, WKU Athletic Media Relations

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The Western Kentucky University volleyball team (17-5, 7-1) handed UALR (15-5, 7-1) its first Sun Belt Conference loss of the season Friday night by sweeping the Trojans (28-26, 25-20, 25-21) at the Jack Stephens Center.

Redshirt senior Paige Wessel led all attackers with a match-high 14 kills while junior Heather Boyan had 13 kills and sophomore Haley Bodway posted 12 kills. Senior Melanie Stutsman had 44 assists while fellow classmate Ashley Potts had 14 digs to go along with six assists. Sophomore Noelle Langenkamp totaled three blocks to lead the team at the net.

For UALR, Sonja Milanovic led with 12 kills while WKU held one of the top attackers in the nation in Edina Begic to 11 kills. The Trojans were a force at the net with 12 team blocks to WKU's six, as UALR was led by Carolee Dillard with eight total blocks while a trio of other Trojans tallied two or more each.

Leading 3-0 in the first, WKU continued to hold the lead until UALR knotted it at 8 each. From there, eight tied scores and six lead changes brought the set to a WKU lead at 21-19 following a kill and ace from Stutsman and a kill from Wessel. After UALR called a timeout, the Trojans quickly tied it at 21. UALR had a chance for set point at 24-23, but WKU kept hanging on, as tied at 26, two attack errors by the home team gave WKU a 28-26 win.

Down 5-0 and 8-1 and with two timeouts already used, WKU came back to win the second set 25-20. WKU worked its way out of the hole by committee, as at least six different Lady Toppers added points to the scoreboard with a great showing on both sides of the ball. WKU started climbing out after a Langenkamp and Bodway block tied the frame at 16 each. Using a 7-1 run, WKU continued holding the advantage at 23-17 en route to a 2-0 lead at the break.

Close in the early portions of the third set, WKU broke away after kills from Bodway and Wessel along with a pair of kills from Langenkamp lifted the team to a 7-3 lead. WKU continued leading, but a 5-1 run from the Trojans closed the gap at 16-15. However, four-straight kills by the Lady Toppers extended the advantage to 20-15, as WKU closed the deal with a 25-21 win.

WKU stays one more day in Arkansas for SBC action, as the Lady Toppers face Arkansas State at 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 19.

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