BOWLING GREEN, Ky.— The WKU volleyball team (2-2) opened the home portion of its schedule with a straight-set sweep against Belmont (1-3) on Tuesday in E.A. Diddle Arena, sliding past the Bruins by scores of 25-23, 25-16, 25-20.
“Today was no different than what we saw over the weekend, and it’s like I said before the season started, we are going to have stretches where we look really good and we look really bad,” said WKU head coach Travis Hudson. “We did both of those things tonight. We are just young. This weekend we would be behind, work hard to catch back up and then fall behind. Tonight, we would have a lead and let them back in it. It’s just where we are right now. We will get better as time goes by.”
Junior Noelle Langenkamp and freshman Sydney Engle led WKU offensively with eight kills each while both had a team-high three blocks at the net. Freshman Jessica Lucas posted 29 assists while tabbing a stat in each of the other categories, including eight digs, six kills, two blocks and one service ace.
Sophomore Georgia O’Connell almost tied her career high in digs, as the libero notched 17 digs in front of a rowdy home crowd.
“It’s just fun to walk out here and see this atmosphere,” Hudson said of the Lady Topper fans. “When I started 20 years ago, there were 15 people in the stands and 13 of them were family. It’s just special to come out here and have the band playing the fight song and have the student section and community to share a love for this sport. It’s just something I’m really proud of.”
For Belmont, Arianna Person had a team-high seven kills while setter Emma Price posted a double-double of 20 assists and 12 digs.
WKU came out of the gates with an early 7-2 lead, causing Belmont to regroup with a timeout. The Lady Toppers continued to increase their lead, getting as far ahead as eight points before the visitors sparked a 5-0 run to close the score at 15-12. The Bruins didn’t let up, inching the deficit to one at 23-22 and 24-23 before a block by S. Engle and Langenkamp sealed the win at 25-23.
With their most efficient hitting of the match coming in the second set, WKU used a .256 clip to win the frame 25-16. Five kills from S. Engle led the Lady Toppers in the set, as the team once again forced Belmont to use its two timeouts at scores of 8-2 and 15-8. The Bruins found a way with a 4-0 scoring rally to bring the point totals to 17-12, but WKU held on, and with a Langenkamp ace was able to take the lead at 2-0 going into the break.
The third set began differently than earlier ones, as Belmont struck first with a 3-0 advantage. However, under the serve of freshman Jackie Scott, WKU rattled off seven-straight points to take the lead at 11-6. After holding a steady lead, Belmont chipped away a 7-1 run to a 22-20 score before WKU closed out the set with three-straight points that included a sophomore Kaelin Grimes service ace and junior Rachel Engle kill to win 25-20.
The Lady Toppers are back in action this weekend at the University Plaza/Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational on the campus of Missouri State. WKU plays Incarnate Word and Missouri State on Friday, Sept. 5 before facing Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Oral Roberts on Saturday, Sept. 6.
The 2014 WKU volleyball season is being presented by the United States Marines. This season, the Marines and WKU Athletics are working together to promote the outstanding athletic and academic achievements of our female student-athletes. The Marines are proud to work with and support these future leaders of America.
For all the latest news and information on WKU volleyball, visit WKUSports.com or follow the program on Twitter via @TravisHudsonWKU and @WKUVolleyball.