BOWLING GREEN, Ky.-The No. 24 Western Kentucky University volleyball team (16-3, 2-0 SBC) extended its win streak to eight matches after taking a 3-0 win (25-22, 25-16, 25-12) against South Alabama (8-8, 1-1 SBC) Saturday afternoon at E.A. Diddle Arena.
“We are glad to get the win in three,” WKU head coach Travis Hudson said. “I wasn’t really pleased with how we played game one. I thought we were flat, and we have got to guard against that. What I am trying to get our team to do is compete against us. There is going to be some situations in conference play when we are going to have advantages and leads but we have to compete against us and push ourselves to be better than we can. Game one, I don’t think we necessarily did a good job with that.”
Sophomore Heather Boyan pushed WKU to 52 total kills and a .390 hitting percentage in the contest after posting a career-high 16 and hitting .609 in the match.
“I talk about us everyday coming out and being prepared as a team, and Heather is a kid that you absolutely know is going to be ready to play everyday,” Hudson said. “She absolutely loves to play and practice. She loves to get better. She is every coach’s dream in terms of preparation.”
Freshman Noelle Langenkamp collected eight kills to hit .467 followed by fellow classmate Haley Bodway’s seven kills. Junior Melanie Stutsman dished out 37 assists while adding six kills while junior Ashley Potts and senior Jordyn Skinner had 12 and 10 digs, respectively.
For the Jaguars, Olivia Mohler had a team-high eight kills followed by Lindsay Schwartz, Melissa Waelter and Savannah Stewart with seven each. Emily Hundt posted 25 assists while Stewart put up 10 digs.
After back-to-back kills from Boyan and Stutsman opened the match, WKU would get a lead as much as three before South Alabama worked its way to a tie at 6. The Jaguars would take the lead at 8-7 but an ace from senior Sarah Rogers and kill by Stutsman helped tie the game at 10. WKU took control from there and would not give it up despite a knotted game at 16. The Lady Toppers would lead as much as four after a South Alabama timeout at 19-16 to go on and win 25-22.
Behind Boyan’s six kills in the second frame, WKU would take a 25-16 set win to lead 2-0 at the break. Ahead 10-4 at a Jaguar break, WKU would outscore South Alabama 11-8 to force another South Alabama break. During that span, Boyan had three kills, Skinner and Bodway had one kill each, and Stutsman put up an ace to get WKU out 21-12. Bodway and Boyan would get one more kill each before WKU closed the set at 25-16.
The Lady Toppers held South Alabama to a .114 hitting percentage in the third set with eight kills behind 22 digs, including seven apiece from Potts and Stutsman. WKU pushed ahead 6-1 in the final set after opening with three kills in a row by Boyan, Skinner and Langenkamp. The Lady Toppers put together a string of six-straight points to notch a 14-4 advantage before grabbing five of the last six points thanks to two freshman Rachel Engle kills to seal the win 25-12.
Sun Belt Conference play continues for WKU on Friday, September 28 at Louisiana-Lafayette to start a four-game road swing. The match against the Ragin’ Cajuns begins at 7 p.m.