WKU Volleyball drops a tough five-set match to No. 17 Arkansas
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - The marquee opponent on the court inside Diddle Arena, the No. 17 Arkansas Razorbacks edged [RV] WKU, three sets to two, in a nail-biting contest where the Tops outhit and out blocked the visitors.
Paige Briggs marked a notable match for the season with 21 kills and 14 digs. Kaylee Cox added 11 kills and 14 kills. On the other side of the net, Kenadee Coyle and Gabby Weihe stuffed six blocks apiece – tying the career-high for Coyle and setting the bar for Weihe’s single match high.
WKU 2, Arkansas 3: 22-25, 25-17, 25-20, 22-25, 12-15
An absolute tight set from the beginning, the Tops and Razorbacks didn’t stray over two points from each other on the scoreboard, rallying or pulling through on slight 2-0 runs up until Arkansas pushed three straight points out at the 18-18 mark, to hit 20. Down by two, Paige Briggs cut them short with a cross-court kill. The visitors merged two points on the scoreboard off of a block and kill before the two teams volleyed on the court and Arkansas took set one.
Flipping sides and resetting the system, the Tops went on a 4-1 run before taking three straight to gain a four-point lead over the SEC team. The charge was led by kills from Briggs and Callie Bauer. After the Razorbacks burned a timeout, the Hilltoppers kicked off their scoring defense with back-to-back blocks stuffed by Kenadee Coyle and Gabby Weihe on the right side. After going back-and-forth on the scoreboard, the Tops took matters into their own hands with four straight featuring a Briggs kill, Weihe and Coyle block, and Coyle kill to widen the gap, 18-11. Later in the set, a 5-1 run for the home team would put the match at set point before Arkansas would catch WKU off guard and manage three points of their own back on. A kill right down the middle from Logan Grevengoed would solidify the set and tie up the match.
The Tops would start off being edged by the Power Five squad, 4-3, before exploding into their own 3-0 run with back-to-back kills off the hand of Briggs. The two would coincide on the court, tying the board three times before Arkansas took a 12-9, forcing head coach Travis Hudson to use a timeout. Out of the break, WKU narrowed the margin by one. The Razorbacks ran on to a 15-11 jump before a sideout service error gained a point for WKU. The Tops broke into a 6-0 run, followed by a 5-0 run to gain a hefty lead with 23 points. After a back-and-forth rally on the board, WKU finished the job with a Kaylee Cox and Weihe block at the net.
Going into the fourth frame, the teams would be tied at two apiece before Arkansas jumped on three straight to widen the lead. The Tops answered, however, pushing through a 4-0 run followed by a 5-0 run for a 15-12 frame on their home court. After kills from Briggs and Cox, Arkansas wedged a 5-0 run of their own, forcing a Hilltopper timeout and the lead to move on. The Red and White didn’t back down, running the score up to 22 at set point to burn an Arkansas timeout from back-to-back kills from Bauer and Briggs, before the Razorbacks sealed the set down the middle.
Onto the Tops first five-set match of the season, Arkansas opened it heavy with a 4-1 run to gain the early advantage. Pushing through, the Tops managed two sideout points on the board for a three-point contest. Breaking through a 4-1 run featuring a Cox kill, Kelsey Brangers service ace, and blocks from Grevengoed/Cox and Bauer/Izzy Van De Wiele, the Red and White were within one of their opponent. A sideout for Arkansas and two straight gave them match point, until a kill down center court wrapped up the tough battle of two of the top volleyball teams in the country.
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