LOUISVILLE, Ky.-The Western Kentucky University volleyball team (0-1) took a hard-fought loss Friday night, as the team fell in its season opener at Louisville (1-0) by a score of 3-1 (20-25, 17-25, 28-26, 12-25) in the Cardinals' Active Ankle Challenge Tournament.
Senior Jordyn Skinner notched her 25th double-double of her career, as she totaled 12 kills and a career-high 23 digs. Redshirt junior Paige Wessel and junior Janee' Diggins each recorded double-digit kills with 13 and 10, respectively. Junior Ashley Potts tallied 16 digs while fellow classmate Melanie Stutsman notched 40 assists.
Louisville had three with double-digit kills, led by Gwen Rucker's 16 and .500 hitting percentage. Caitlin Welch tabbed 27 digs while Hannah Kvitle had 44 assists.
The match started with a close first set, as the teams opened the contest exchanging points, but WKU was able to get as much as a two-point lead four times. Tied at 14, U of L grabbed its first substantial lead and didn't let go, as the home team won the first set 25-20.
WKU was able to jump out to an early 4-1 lead in set two off of a pair of Wessel kills and one more from freshman Noelle Langenkamp. U of L responded with a 7-0 run to take the lead and force a WKU timeout at 8-4. The Lady Toppers put together a 7-2 rally of their own to get within reach at 11-10, but the Cardinals quickly extended the lead to 16-11. U of L would go on to take the set 25-17.
A kill and ace from Skinner plus two U of L attack errors helped WKU to a 4-0 advantage to start set three. After a knotted game at 8 apiece, the Lady Toppers kept U of L at a distance, courtesy of kills from the trio of freshman Heather Boyan, Skinner and Langenkamp and reached a lead as much as three. U of L tied it at 13, but a 4-0 spree sparked by two kills from Boyan put WKU up 17-13.
The third set stayed tight and went on with four tied scores before U of L reached set point at 24-22. WKU kept the set point off twice to knot it up at 24. Two more tied scores led to each with 26 where a kill from Diggins and error by U of L sealed the set 28-26 in favor of the Lady Toppers.
The Cardinals came out the fourth set aggressive, quickly grabbing a 7-1 lead. With WKU not able to find a rhythm, U of L carried its early momentum of the set to a 25-12 win and the match victory.
The Lady Toppers continue the Active Ankle Challenge on Saturday, as they face No. 3 Penn State at 12:30 p.m. CT before going up against Morehead State at 4 p.m. CT.