BOWLING GREEN, Ky.—Using an all-around team effort, the No. 19 Western Kentucky University volleyball team (24-3, 10-0 SBC) defeated UALR (10-12, 6-4 SBC) by a score of 3-0 (25-14, 25-14, 25-18) Saturday afternoon at E.A. Diddle Arena.
The win marked the team’s 16th in a row while WKU has not given up a set to a Sun Belt Conference opponent this season. In addition to the 30 sets won in the league schedule, the Lady Toppers have won 34-straight sets.
Junior Melanie Stutsman recorded a double-double of 30 assists and 12 digs in the match to pace the Lady Toppers. Junior Ashley Potts and senior Sarah Rogers also tabbed double-digit digs with 13 and 10, respectively, as the team held UALR to a .021 hitting percentage and the nation’s kill leader Edina Begic to two kills.
Offensively, sophomore Heather Boyan and freshman Noelle Langenkamp notched nine kills each followed by senior Jordyn Skinner’s eight. Langenkamp hit a match-high .562 as she had no errors in the contest while Boyan added four blocks.
For UALR, Adisa Hodzic led the team with eight kills while Daniele Souza Moura followed with seven kills and 10 digs. Marleen de Zoete put up 20 assists along with four blocks at the net.
WKU had to find its way back from behind in the first set after the Trojans got ahead 7-3. Three-straight points from WKU put the team back within one at 7-6 before the teams were knotted three different times leading up to a tie at 12 apiece. The Lady Toppers then outscored UALR 13-2 the rest of the set using two service aces each from senior Sarah Rogers and sophomore Mollie Pajakowski to close with a 25-14 win.
The second set started similar to the first, as the opponents kept a tight score to open the contest. WKU held the lead a majority of the time, as it found a three-point advantage at 8-5 after a Skinner kill. Ahead 11-10, the Lady Toppers sparked big scoring runs again under the serve of Pajakowski and Rogers to extend the lead as much as 11 points en route to a 25-14 win.
The Lady Toppers jumped out to an early 4-1 lead in the third frame before UALR tied it up at 4 apiece. The Trojans would tie the set two more times before back-to-back blocks from Stutsman and junior Lindsay Spears forced a Trojan timeout at 9-6. The visitors came back from the break to close the gap with tied score at points 10, 11 and 12 before kills by freshman Rachel Engle, Stutsman and Boyan along with two more aces by Pajakowski led the team to an 18-12 advantage. WKU would go on to take the final set 25-18.
WKU will hit the road for another four-game stretch, as the team starts the road trip in Florida with FIU on Friday, October 26 at 5:30 p.m. CT before taking on Florida Atlantic at noon CT on Saturday, October 27. After going to the state of Alabama the following weekend, WKU will host MTSU in the final game of the season on Friday, November 9 at 7 p.m.