ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Led by senior Jordyn Skinner’s double-double in both games, the Western Kentucky University volleyball team (12-3) took two games in the opening day of the Coke/Michigan Invitational, as WKU won 3-1 over Duke (9-2) and 3-2 against host No. 22 Michigan (11-2).
Skinner closed the day with 34 kills and 21 digs while freshman Haley Bodway wasn’t far behind with 27 kills to hit .333 for the two matches. Junior Melanie Stutsman added 104 assists while fellow classmate Ashley Potts collected 40 digs.
Game One- WKU 3, Duke 1
With three players registering double-digit kills, WKU rallied to take a 3-1 win (29-31, 25-23, 25-14, 25-19) against Duke in the team’s opening game of the Coke/Michigan Invitational.
Skinner put up a double-double of 15 kills and 11 digs to lead the Lady Toppers. Sophomore Heather Boyan and Bodway posted 12 kills apiece, as the team put up 60 kills in the match to hit at a .231 mark. Stutsman also added a double-double with 50 assists and 11 digs while Potts collected 21 digs.
With Duke up 7-4 in the first set after back-to-back blocks, WKU’s freshman Noelle Langenkamp came up with three points from two kills and a block assist with Skinner to tie the game at 8. The set continued from there with 16 more tied scores and WKU holding off three Duke set points before the Blue Devils took the set 31-29.
WKU came back from being down 5-2 early in the second frame to take a 7-5 advantage after a 4-0 spree, consisting of two kills from Bodway and one apiece from redshirt junior Paige Wessel and Skinner, pushed the team ahead. The set then became just as competitive as the first set with the teams trading points and leads before WKU capitalized on five Blue Devil miscues to take a 21-17 lead. Posting 14 kills in the contest as a team, Boyan added one at the end to seal the set 25-20 for WKU.
Using the momentum of the second set win, WKU came out aggressive in the third contest with a 6-0 run to jump ahead 7-2. The Lady Toppers kept a strong lead throughout the set, letting Duke only get as close as four at 14-10, and ended the frame on an 8-1 run that was capped by a senior Sarah Rogers ace to end the set at 25-14.
Similar to the prior set, WKU snagged the lead at 5-1 with kills from Wessel and junior Lindsay Spears to give the early boost. Duke worked its way back to get within one at 9-8, but WKU kept the distance, using a 5-2 run to lead 14-10. The Blue Devils then used three kills in row to take its first advantage at 17-16. After a WKU timeout, the Lady Toppers put together a 9-1 rally to take the final set 25-19.
Game Two- No. 22 Michigan 3, WKU 2
WKU closed out the day with a hard-fought 3-2 victory (22-25, 25-14, 25-16, 23-25, 15-11) against No. 22 Michigan.
Adding another double-double of 19 kills and 10 digs, Skinner now has 28 double-doubles in her career. Bodway also had a big night with 15 kills followed by Wessel’s 12. Stutsman set a season high of 54 assists while Potts anchored the back row with 19 digs.
With the first set knotted at 2, Michigan put up a 6-1 run to go ahead 8-3. After a WKU timeout, the Lady Toppers had a run of their own with a 7-2 spree that was sparked by a Boyan and Stutsman block to tie the game at 10. Michigan continued to hold the lead, but WKU would not be far off, as the team tied the Wolverines three different times before Michigan took the set 25-22.
After starting out close, WKU found an early cushion with a 10-2 run thanks to three kills from Boyan to give them a lead of 12-5. The momentum didn’t slow down after a Michigan timeout, as the Lady Toppers got an ace from Potts to go up 17-8. Notching 12 kills and four aces in the contest, WKU found the win at 25-14.
WKU opened the third set on a high note, as five different Lady Toppers put the team ahead 6-2. The team kept hold of the lead, getting as much as a nine-point advantage with a joint block from Wessel and Langenkamp at 16-7. WKU didn’t let Michigan any closer than seven points, as the visitors sealed the third frame 25-16.
An early 6-1 deficit in the fourth set for the Lady Toppers proved to be too much, as Michigan tied it at two sets each with a 25-23 win. WKU got within three at 10-7 after a solo block by Skinner before working its way back at the end of the set. With the Wolverines ahead 24-19, four-straight WKU points closed the gap to one, but a Michigan kill sent the match to five sets.
Playing its first fifth set of the 2012 season, WKU took the first substantial lead of the set, as three-straight kills from Bodway pushed the Lady Toppers ahead 5-3. With Michigan down 11-8 at its own timeout, the Wolverines started working back out of the break to get within one; however, a kill from Bodway plus a block by Boyan and Wessel gave WKU its second win of the season over a ranked opponent.
The Lady Toppers finish the Coke/Michigan Invitational on Saturday, September 15 at 3 p.m. CT, as they take on Eastern Michigan in the final game. WKU will then close out non-conference play on Tuesday, September 18 when the team travels to Nashville to face Belmont.