Briggs breaks single-match kill record; Hilltoppers upend Western Michigan, 3-1

Paige Briggs broke the program’s single-match record for most kills in a match.
Published: Sep. 16, 2023 at 6:39 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - As the most veteran member of the 2023 Hilltopper squad, outside hitter Paige Briggs broke the program’s single-match record for most kills in a match in the Tops’ 3-1 victory over Western Michigan Saturday afternoon. The Ortonville, Michigan native knocked down 35 kills, outhitting the previous set record by four, all good for a .484 hitting clip at the net.

Still a collective effort on offense, three players hit over .400 on the day, as setter Callie Bauer piled on 59 assists from the court. From the service line, Abby Schaefer led the pack with two of WKU’s five aces in the match. Briggs’ 35-kill outing marked the first 30+ kill match for a Hilltopper since Lauren Matthews stuck 30 against No. 21 Rice in 2022. WKU 3, WMU 1: 25-17, 25-23, 19-25, 25-18

Set 1

The first set was all Red and White out of the gate as the Tops jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. The Broncos responded with a kill, but WKU rolled off four straight, capped by an ace giving the Tops a 7-1 advantage. WMU went on a 4-0 run of their own, cutting the lead to two, 8-6. WKU was first to double digits, up 10-6. The two went back and forth, each going on small runs. The Tops took supreme control of the set sparked by a 6-0 run, in which Paige Briggs notched four kills putting WKU ahead 22-13. Leading 23-14, the Tops hit a snag getting blocked in two straight. A pair of Gabby Weihe kills with a Bronco kill sprinkled in between, gave WKU set one.

Set 2

The Hilltoppers picked up where they left off in the first set with a kill from the outside Kaylee Cox. Following that, the two battled on the scoreboard before WMU pulled away leading 14-10. WKU then cut the deficit to two. After a successful WMU challenge, Paige Briggs fired one past the front line for her 14th kill of the match. She then followed it up with an ace. The Broncos responded with back-to-back points forcing the Tops to burn a timeout trailing 17-14. Out of the timeout, the lead stretched to four following a WMU kill. An errant serve and back-to-back kills by Kaylee Cox forced the Broncos to call time with the set tied at 18 apiece. Paige Briggs sent the Broncos running with a kill down the back line giving WKU its first lead since early in the set. The Tops rattled off two more, forcing the Broncos into their final timeout of the frame. The two traded points but another Paige Briggs kill had the Tops at set point. On the fourth try, WKU took the set 25-23 for a commanding 2-0 lead.

Set 3

Callie Bauer got the scoring started in the third set with a setter dump assisted by Brangers. The Broncos answered the call with two points of their own. Paige Briggs dropped one among Bronco defenders for her 20th kill of the match, tying the set at three. Leading 6-5, the Broncos rolled off three straight forcing the Tops to take time trailing, 9-6. Out of the stoppage, Kenadee Coyle notched a kill, but the Broncos punched back with two straight. Back-to-back kills from Paige Briggs brought the Tops within two and tied Briggs’ career high in kills (24). Following, the Bronco lead grew to five before Gabby Weihe picked up a kill. Paige Briggs set a new career-best in kills with 25 cutting the deficit to three, as the Tops were down 15-12. WMU got their lead up to six on their 34th kill of the match, leading 20-14, as part of a 4-0 run. The Broncos were firmly in the driver’s seat up 23-15 following a WKU error. The Tops wouldn’t go away quietly after Bauer and Cox notched a pair of kills, down 23-17. On their third set point Western Michigan sent the match to a fourth set, taking set three 25-19.

Set 4

A service error from WMU gave the Tops the first point of the frame, but WKU followed it up with an errant serve of their own. Three straight Briggs’ kills gave the Tops a 4-1 edge. Briggs’ 30th kill of the match and an attacking error gave WKU a 6-2 advantage. After a pair of WMU points, the Tops were first to break double digits credit to Kaylee Cox’s 12th kill of the afternoon. The teams then exchanged points with WKU holding a four-point edge. Back-to-Back Hilltopperkills sent the set into the media break, leading 15-10. A 3-0 WKU run highlighted by two Coyle kills forced the Broncos head coach Colleen Munson to call for a timeout. A block from the likes of Coyle and Grevengoed had the Tops five points away from taking the set. Paige Briggs floated one between the front and back lines giving WKU a 22-18 advantage. Another kill from Briggs and the Broncos’ backs were against the wall. In a fitting style, Paige Briggs notched her 34th and 35th kill of the afternoon giving the Tops set four 25-18.