BOWLING GREEN, Ky.—The Western Kentucky University volleyball team (9-3) split the final day of the WKU Tournament at E.A. Diddle Arena, as the team fell 3-1 to Ohio State (8-1) in its early match before defeating IUPUI (6-5) with a 3-0 sweep to end Saturday.
For the tournament, senior Jordyn Skinner led the team with 45 kills followed by sophomore Heather Boyan’s 37. Redshirt junior Paige Wessel posted the best hitting percentage with a .414 mark while junior Melanie Stutsman collected 158 assists in the two-day span.
The team tallied 20 service aces in four games compared to opponents’ four while keeping the competition hitting at a .188 clip thanks in part to junior Ashley Potts’ 58 digs.
Wessel and Stutsman were selected to the all-tournament team following their performances.
Game One-Ohio State 3, WKU 1
WKU opened the day falling in a 3-1 thriller (17-25, 18-25, 25-21, 23-25) against Ohio State.
Skinner and Boyan led the team on both sides of the ball, as Skinner posted 15 kills and three blocks and Boyan collected 10 kills and four blocks. Stutsman tabbed 40 assists while Potts had 15 digs.
For Ohio State, Mari Hole tabbed 13 kills followed by Kaitlyn Leary who had 10 kills. Defensively, Amanda Petterson led the back row with 16 digs while Andrea Kacsits held at the net with eight blocks.
After grabbing a quick 2-0 lead to open the match, WKU extended the advantage after kills from Wessel and Boyan along with an ace from Potts that helped the team to a 5-0 run and 7-3 lead. The Buckeyes worked their way back, taking their first lead at 12-11 and never giving it up, as a .421 hitting percentage from Ohio State gave the team a 25-17 win.
WKU led early in the second set, but tied at 8, Ohio State took the lead on a WKU service error to gain control. The Lady Toppers didn’t give in, and got within one at 17-16 after a Buckeye attack error to force an Ohio State break. Out of the timeout, the visitors put up four-straight points to push them to a 25-18 win.
A close game the entire set, WKU and Ohio State traded points and leads for a majority of the contest. Knotted at 20, WKU took the lead after a kill from junior Lindsay Spears and Skinner into an Ohio State timeout. The Lady Toppers allowed one more Buckeye point after the timeout before a block from Wessel and Spears sealed the third set win 25-21 in favor of WKU.
Using the momentum of the last frame, WKU came out aggressive in set four to notch a 6-0 lead courtesy of kills from Stutsman and Skinner, block by Boyan and Stutsman, and senior Sarah Rogers’ ace. WKU held the lead until Ohio State tied it at 19 and took a 22-20 lead. WKU got the game to neutral again at 22 after a kill from Boyan and Buckeye error, but a 3-1 score advantage for Ohio State at the end of the frame sealed the match in its favor.
Game Two-WKU 3, IUPUI 0
WKU finished the home tournament on a high note, taking a 3-0 match (25-19, 25-19, 25-13) over IUPUI, as the Lady Toppers hit .398 for the match compared to IUPUI’s .092 mark.
Three Lady Toppers marked 10 kills in the contest—Skinner, Wessel and Boyan. Wessel led the team in hitting percentage with .471 followed by Boyan at .450 and Diggins and Langenkamp at a .429 clip.
Defensively, the team put together nine total blocks, as WKU was led by Wessel’s five and Langenkamp’s four. Diggins also posted three solo blocks.
The offense started quickly in the first set, as three kills from Skinner and one from Stutsman got WKU ahead 5-1. After grabbing as large of a lead as six, WKU would not allow IUPUI to climb out of the deficit after notching 17 kills in the set to go on and win 25-19.
Getting a fresh start in set two, IUPUI took an early lead before WKU tied it at 9 with a Boyan kill. From there, a kill from Diggins gave WKU the advantage. The Lady Toppers wouldn’t relinquish their lead, as five kills from Boyan and five digs from Stutsman helped the team to a 25-19 set win at the break.
The Lady Toppers ended the tournament with one of their best hitting percentages of the 14 sets they played with a .522 mark in the third frame against IUPUI. Notching 14 kills on 23 attempts with two errors, the team gained strength throughout the set to take a 25-13 win.
WKU stays at home for a Tuesday, Sept. 11 match with Lipscomb starting at 7:00 p.m. before traveling to Ann Arbor, Mich., for the Coke/Michigan Invitational starting on Friday, Sept. 14 with Duke and Michigan and ending Saturday, Sept. 15 with Eastern Michigan.