Tops continue to roll, sweep FAU for second straight day
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -No. 22 WKU Volleyball continues to find program firsts to check off its list. In today’s sweep of Florida Atlantic, the Hilltoppers would hold the Owls to just five points in the opening frame, the fewest in the rally-scoring era by an opponent (since 2001). The Red and White’s offense stayed hot and the defense was stifling.
“I’m really happy with our team and happy with the weekend,” head coach Travis Hudson opened. “Coming off a convincing win yesterday, it’s really difficult – as you’ve seen around the country – to bounce back and be sharp again the next day and I thought we were very emphatically able to do that today.”
WKU improved to 7-0 overall and 2-0 in Conference USA play with Monday’s win over a young Florida Atlantic team. The Owls (0-4; 0-2 C-USA) continue to seek their first win of the 2020-21 campaign.
The Hilltoppers wasted no time in round two after a little bit of a slow start in the sides’ first meeting of the series. Off the serve of Ashley Hood, WKU would work out to a 7-0 lead before FAU got on the board. A run of serves from Hallie Shelton would push the Tops to a 14-1 advantage. Paige Briggs would serve a handful and push the hosts to a 24-4 lead before a Kayland Jackson kill sealed the frame at 25-5.
In the set, WKU would not complete a full rotation, only sending five servers back to the line. The Hilltoppers operated at a .474 hitting percentage while shutting down the Owls – holding them to a -.323 (3 kills, 13 errors, 31 attacks) rate. The Tops registered six of their 10 blocks in the opening frame.
Second-set action again opened with WKU jumping out to a 7-0 advantage, this time on Shelton’s serving. The Hilltoppers would be the first to double digits at 10-4 before the Owls would score 5-of-6 points to pull within two at 11-9. Back-to-back kills from Jackson and Avri Davis, followed by a block from Lauren Matthews gave WKU a 14-9 lead and forced an FAU timeout. The Owls would call for their second stop after five more serves, trailing 18-10. From there, the sides would nearly trade points the rest of the way as WKU would win 25-15.
For the first time in the match, FAU scored first in the third frame and forced four ties and three lead changes in the set. The final tie would come at 10-10 before a Florida Atlantic service error gave WKU the lead for good. From there, with Hood at the line again, the Tops went on an 8-0 run to take a 19-10 lead. WKU would string together a 5-0 run to make the score 24-11 before FAU added a few more points before a Paige Briggs kill ended things in favor of WKU, 25-15.
WKU operated at a scorching .390 hitting clip, facilitated by the combination of Nadia Dieudonne and Hood. Dieudonne would finish with 29 assists, six digs, an ace, and a block. Hood turned in a line of nine digs, one assist, and one ace.
Logan Kael racked up 11 digs for her fourth double-digit dig outing this season.
At the net, Matthews led WKU with 10 kills on 15 errorless swings for a .667 attack percentage. She finished with five blocks and three digs.
Briggs tallied nine kills on .444 hitting to go along with six digs, two blocks, and an assist.
The collective Hilltopper defensive effort held Florida Atlantic to a -.087 hitting percentage. The Owls are the second team this season that WKU has held to a negative attack rate. A feat that prior to the Jan. 31 match against Evansville, had not happened since the 2016 campaign.
LOOKING AHEADWKU Volleyball will now hit the road to head to Old Dominion for the program’s first-ever meeting with the Monarchs. Matches are scheduled for Sunday and Monday at 11 a.m. CT both days.
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