WKU Volleyball Wins 5th Straight CUSA Regular Season Title

Published: Nov. 4, 2023 at 4:34 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Showing the programs success and what Travis Hudson has built, the No. 23 WKU Hilltoppers won their ninth of the last 10 regular-season Conference USA titles. Diddle Arena packed with 1,316 fans, the Tops’ 3-0 sweep over FIU to continue a perfect conference streak as the program recognized seniors: Sam Canner, Shannon Keck, Cameron Mosley, and Paige Briggs.

“Today’s what we have been fighting for, for a long time”, said Hudson. “As I told our team before the match, this journey started in January. This one is meaningful. We graduated a once-in-a-generation talent in Lauren Matthews, had a lot of holes to fill, but to clinch this regular-season championship right here in Diddle Arena – that’s what we’ve been fighting for.”

As the Tops amassed a .313 hitting clip, Kaylee Cox, Paige Briggs, and Logan Grevengoed led the way in kills for WKU, as Abby Schaefer is on her sixth-straight match with double-digit digs. Briggs served up five aces from the line and Grevengoed worked the defensive side of the ball, getting a piece of five blocks of the Tops’ eight in total. WKU 3, FIU 0: 25-25, 25-22, 25-15

Set 1

FIU took the first two points, but a kill from Kenadee Coyle and another down the middle off the hand Izzy Van De Wieletied the set at two. The teams then swapped points until WKU rattled off three straight, capped by an ace from Katie Howard taking a 9-6 lead. Van De Wiele then dumped one over the net giving the Tops their largest lead of 12-8 after a successful Hilltopper challenge. Logan Grevengoed’s third kill of the afternoon gave WKU a five-point edge at the media timeout. Another shot off the hand of Grevengoed forced the Panthers to take time, leading 17-11. Off Callie Bauer’s 11th assist of the set, Paige Briggs managed her fourth kill forcing FIU to burn their final timeout, leading 21-13. Out of the break, the Hilltoppers took four of the next six points, taking the set. Set point was recorded on the first block of the day for the Red and White.

Set 2 Paige Briggs was first to strike in the second frame, dropping one behind the FIU front line. FIU secured three straight points taking a 4-2 lead off of WKU attacking errors and a block. Bauer then turned onto offense, dropping a two-handed set behind the back over the net for her first kill of the afternoon, tying the set at five. FIU’s top defense on the blocks made it hard for WKU to break through, taking a 10-8 lead with their fourth block of the set. Van De Wiele’s second kill of the frame tied up the set. FIU then took the next three points leading 15-12 at the media break. On a long rally, KayleeCox slowed one down placing one into empty space to tie the set up again. She then backed it up with another, forcing head coach Cristina Robertson to burn a timeout as WKU was in the lead for the first time since 2-1 at the start. Out of the stoppage, Briggs set one up the ball perfectly for Callie Bauer to down another kill, her second of the afternoon. After FIU took the next two of three points, Bauer found herself notching another kill propelling WKU to 20 points. Paige Briggs then fired her ninth kill of the day for a 22-19 lead. Off of Bauer’s 25th assist of the day, Grevengoed shot a kill down the middle, giving set two to the Tops.

Set 3

FIU took the first point, but WKU rattled off five straight capped by an ace from Briggs. Coyle and Van De Wiele’ssecond block of the frame forced the Panthers to call time. After an FIU block, the Tops drive in another run highlighted by back-to-back aces from Abby Schaefer, a 4-0 run in all, taking a 10-3 lead. A pair of blocks studffed by Logan Grevengoed, her fourth and fifth of the day, gave WKU a nine-point advantage. FIU rolled off a 4-0 run of their own highlighted by three aces, but a Kaylee Cox kill ended the run with WKU on top 17-10. Paige Briggs’ fourth ace of the afternoon gave WKU a 10-point lead, 22-12. Paige Briggs served up yet another ace giving the Tops match point. Killing the momentum in Diddle Arena, FIU then took the next four points. On the fifth set point, WKU’s Kaylee Cox fired her 11th kill of the afternoon to sweep FIU and take the regular-season conference title race.