WKU Volleyball Head Coach Travis Hudson reflects on the inaugural Alyssa Cavanaugh Classic
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -The inaugural Alyssa Cavanaugh Classic took place this past weekend in Diddle Arena as the WKU Volleyball team swept the competition in route to three wins, wrapping up nonconference play.
The Tops only gave up two sets on the weekend, dropping the third set in the games against Ball State and Western Michigan, and swept East Tennessee state. However, it wasn’t all about the play on the court. WKU’s second tournament of the season each year used to be called the WKU Invitational. That is until WKU Volleyball head coach Travis Hudson led the way to renaming the event The Alyssa Cavanaugh Classic.
“Alyssa Cavanaugh is always present in our minds and in our program. We continue to look for ways to honor her and remember her and make her part of the legacy of our program,” Hudson said. “I reached out and talked to her family about it and they thought it was a really good idea as well. It’s just something that will keep her name alive here because her spirit is certainly in our program and I think it’s a great way to remember her every year as part of our program and our family.”
Throughout the weekend, the tournament did all it could to recognize and honor Cavanaugh as much as it could with patches, logos and multiple videos being played on the jumbotron. Even the NCAA got in on the action posting video on her story and legacy within the program.
“What a really cool weekend it was. It really exceeded my expectations. There was a scenario where it would just be a name change and it would be on a t-shirt and everybody would go about their business but it really did grab a lot of attention. You saw things nationally with the NCAA Volleyball and they were recognizing the initiative we had going on. It’s just a testament to the impact she had on the sport of college volleyball because it runs much deeper than just here in Bowling Green, Kentucky and that was really neat to see.”
Hudson struggled holding it together during the Classic when videos of Alyssa ran between sets and games captivating the arena. Coach Hudson is a “stick to the script” guy in terms of pregame routines, but before the match, he broke that routine. Before the team went to the floor, he talked to the team about Alyssa and how she approached playing on the court and her life. He wanted the team to get the message about always playing with a fearless mentality and honoring her with that fearless mentality.
What made the tournament even more special for Hudson was fifth year outside hitter Paige Briggs setting the new record for most kills in a game in WKU Volleyball program history in WKU’s win over Western Michigan.
“I think it’s super cool that Paige Briggs, as an outside hitter, who’s heard so much through the years regarding Alyssa Cavanaugh, broke the all-time kill record in the final wrap up match of the weekend was kind of a storybook deal,” Hudson said. “Paige was just in such a rhythm and playing with such a fearless attitude that you knew she was going to finish that and put an exclamation point on it.”
Alyssa Cavanaugh may not be here with us anymore, but her presence will always be felt and known around the WKU Volleyball Program and college volleyball as a whole. And her legacy is cemented even more with the Alyssa Cavanaugh Classic here to stay to remind us of who she was and the impact she had not only on the court, but in the community as well.
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