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No. 18 WKU wraps up undefeated regular season with win over Old Dominion

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers middle hitter Lauren Matthews (5) and setter Nadia Dieudonne (2)...
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers middle hitter Lauren Matthews (5) and setter Nadia Dieudonne (2) Charlotte 49erÕs at WKU Hilltoppers on February 22, 2021 at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, KY(Steve Roberts/WKU Athletics | Steve Roberts/WKU Athletics)
Published: Mar. 27, 2021 at 4:58 PM CDT
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NORFOLK, Va. (WBKO) -Western Kentucky Volleyball concluded the first undefeated regular season in program history with a dominant 3-0 sweep of Old Dominion on Saturday. The Hilltoppers never trailed en route to a 25-6, 25-16, 25-10 sweep of the Monarchs in Norfolk, Va., to wrap up an 18-0 regular season and 12-0 record in Conference USA matches.

“Our team played very, very well today with a chance to close out an undefeated regular season,” opened WKU Volleyball head coach Travis Hudson. “I don’t think people can fully realize the challenges that these kids have faced over the last several months and to get through it unbeaten is a testament to their character.”

WKU’s 12-0 record in league play across the 2020-21 campaign marks the seventh undefeated conference season in program history and third since joining C-USA. WKU is now 108-6 in conference play in the regular season since joining Conference USA.

The Hilltoppers closed the regular season with a 54-3 record by sets, sweeping 15 of 18 matches this year.

No. 18 WKU opened the day with a kill from Kayland Jackson before ODU responded with a kill of its own. From there, the Hilltoppers would go on an 18-0 run behind the serve of Ashley Hood. The defensive specialist gave the Tops a 19-1 lead, adding three aces along the way.

WKU would close out the frame with a 25-6 victory, marking the sixth opponent and seventh set the Hilltoppers would hold a squad to single digits in.

After the lone tie of the second frame at 2-2, WKU went on a 7-0 run on the serve of Hood yet again. Old Dominion worked back within two at 14-12 but back-to-back kills from Jackson and Lauren Matthews doubled the Hilltopper lead. WKU pushed out to a 20-14 lead after a Paige Briggs kill before taking a 2-0 lead in the match following another set-ending kill from Katie Isenbarger.

Out of the break, Jackson struck for the first point of the third set and helped the Tops out to an 11-4 advantage. WKU went on another run, this time off the serve of Briggs, to take a 17-5 lead before a kill from Nadia Dieudonne closed out the 25-10 third-set victory. The Hilltoppers operated at a match-best hitting percentage of .600 in the third set while holding the Monarchs to a match-low -.120 mark.

WKU finished with a 79 percent sideout rate while ODU operated at just a 34-percent mark.

The Hilltoppers recorded a .476 hitting clip on the match – the squad’s fifth outing of the season operating above a .400 rate. Saturday’s match against Old Dominion also marked the fourth time WKU held an opponent to an attack rate at or below .000.

Matthews racked up 14 kills while hitting .526 in the match to go along with five blocks. Jackson also finished with double-digit kills, owning 10 strikes on 12 swings for a .750 hitting percentage. Two more Hilltoppers finished with eight or more kills as Avri Davis tallied eight and Briggs added nine.

Briggs also led three Hilltoppers into double-digit digs, owning 15 herself. Logan Kael added 13 digs while Hood tallied 10.

Dieudonne racked up 44 assists in the three-set match in addition to four digs, three blocks and two kills.

WKU racked up 50 kills in the sweep while allowing just 15 from Old Dominion across the contest.

With the first undefeated regular season in the books for WKU Volleyball, the Hilltoppers turn their focus to next week’s Conference USA Tournament. Play from Hattiesburg will open with four quarterfinal matches on Thursday, April 1. WKU has secured the top seed from the East Division and will take on North Texas.

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