Eight Hilltoppers earn Conference USA Volleyball Awards to close out the regular season
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - There are three things guaranteed in this life; death, taxes, and WKU Volleyball dominating conference USA on and off the court. Conference USA announced its conference awards for the 2023 season with 8 Hilltoppers earning an award.
Paige Briggs becomes the sixth player in program history to earn the newly renamed, Alyssa Cavanaugh Player of the Year Award, earning the award alongside Logan Grevengoed who picked up Freshman of the Year honors. Head coach Travis Hudson was tabbed the CUSA Coach of the Year. Briggs, Callie Bauer and Kaylee Cox also collected First Team All-Conference recognition. Kenadee Coyle landed on the Second Team All-Conference Team for the first time of her career, while Grevengoed, Izzy Van De Wiele, and Gabby Weihe earned spots on the conference All-Freshman Team.
WKU CUSA AWARD BREAKDOWN
- Briggs – Alyssa Cavanaugh Player of the Year, 1st Team All-Conference
- Hudson – Coach of the Year
- Grevengoed – Freshman of the Year, All-Freshman Team
- Bauer – 1st Team All-Conference
- Cox – 1st Team All-Conference
- Coyle – 2nd Team All-Conference
- Van De Wiele – All-Freshman Team
- Weihe – All-Freshman Team
Now as the only Hilltopper to ever receive five all-conference nominations and never losing a regular-season conference match in her career, Paige Briggs was named the Alyssa Cavanaugh Player of the Year in 2023. Across 29 matches, Briggs has tallied seven double-doubles this season. A primary passer for the Hilltoppers, she has only recorded 22 reception errors in 509 attempts for a 95.7% reception rate. The six-rotation player was the Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Week twice in 2023. Capping off 21 double-digit kill outings this season, the Michigan native broke the program record in most kills in a single match (35) and most aces in a single match (10), while being in the top-five all-time in career kills (1,762), and second all-time in career attempts (4,288).
Coach Hudson’s recognition marks his sixth Conference USA Coach of the Year honor in WKU’s 10 seasons as a league member. He also earned the honor in 2015, ‘16, ‘19, fall of ‘21, and 2022. During the Sun Belt era, Hudson collected five more Coach of the Year accolades to bring his total to ten. The 29th year head coach led the Hilltoppers to their 74th consecutive conference regular-season victory in another undefeated conference slate this season.
In her second year on the WKU roster after utilizing a medical redshirt, Logan Grevengoed earned the Conference USA Freshman of the Year and a spot on the All-Freshman Team from her first true season in Red and White. The middle hitter saw action in all 30 matches, picking up 164 kills for a 1.66 average and three double-digit kill outings. Leading WKU and ranking third in most blocks in the league this season. Her 108 stuffs at the net were the most of any CUSA freshman in 2023. Off of the 1.09 blocks/set average, she’s stuffed 20 solo from the middle adding defense to her .227 hitting average on offense. Grevengoed was named both a CUSA Freshman and Defensive Player of the Week.
A now redshirt-sophomore setter in back for her second starting season for the Tops, Bauer has earned her second First Team All-Conference recognition, after picking up the accolades along with All-Freshman Team and Freshman of the Year. Facilitating the third-best offense in the country to a .308 hitting percentage, Bauer has appeared in all 102 sets for the Tops and averages 10.49 assists a game (1,070 total assists) which ranks her second in the league and in the top-25 nationally. She’s added 1.53 digs/set, 57.0 total blocks, 124 kills, 22 service aces, and two double-double all with a .394 offensive clip. Bauer has earned herself two CUSA Setter of the Week nods this season.
In her first season with the Hilltoppers, junior Kaylee Cox made an impact for the Tops as a six-rotation outside hitter and was rewarded with All-Conference accolades. The Texas native is second on the WKU squad in kills (328), kills/set (3.22), and digs (264), picking up 17 double-digit kill efforts and five double-doubles in 2023. Operating off of her career-best .328 from the net, she picked up back-to-back 20-kill matches against NM State for a WKU career-high weekend. From the service line, she’s steadied 31 aces over the net, including six in a single match. On the other side of the net, the hitter has blocked 47 balls totaling 390.0 points throughout the season. Cox was named to the CUSA Preseason All-Conference Team, also picked as the league’s Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 16.
Coyle was named Second Team All-Conference for the first time in her career with Thursday’s awards. She’s appeared in all 30 matches this season while operating at a high .354 hitting percentage for a right side hitter. Coyle, a native of Bloomington, Ind., racked up 198 kills this season with 1.94 kills per set to go along with 61.0 total blocks. She’s tallied 20 matches with a hitting clip of .300 or better entering the postseason, including nine over .500, and back-to-back error-free matches against UTEP hitting .600+ from the right. Being named to the CUSA Preseason Team and earning an Offensive Player of the Week nod this season, Coyle has produced five double-digit kill matches in 2023.
A true freshman freshman that earned her way into the lineup on week one was Gabby Weihe, who earned All-Freshman Team honors. Through 84 sets, Weihe has picked up 118 kills off of a .263 hitting clip as a middle hitter. While averaging 1.40 kills/set, she also averages 0.67 blocks/set on the other side of the net, 56.0 blocks in total. With nine total solo stuffs, Weihe has had career numbers in nine kills and seven blocks in the five-set match up with Liberty. Weihe has earned CUSA Freshman of the Week nods twice this season.
Lastly on post-season awards, Izzy Van De Wiele earned herself a spot on the All-Freshman Team with 60 sets played in her rookie season. The Iowa native owns 67 kills off of a .268 hitting chart, while boasting 39.0 total blocks for a 0.65 per set average. While working with 1.12 kills/set, the middle hitter earned career highs with 12 kills and five against Middle Tennessee, while also posting the highest four-set hitting clip of any Hilltopper this season: a .750 average with no errors. The 6′5″ hitter has earned CUSA Freshman of the Week nods in back-to-back campaigns.
Earlier this week, Bauer was all named to Conference USA’s 11-player All-Academic Team. The redshirt-sophomore studying business management, earned her second bid to the team.
WKU will take on Jacksonville State in the opening round of the Conference USA Tournament, tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. on ESPN plus.
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