Briggs, Matthews Collect Conference USA Weekly Honors

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers middle hitter Lauren Matthews (5) Ohio State Buckeyes at WKU Hilltoppers, September 13, 2019 at E.A. Diddle Arena
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Dallas, TX (WBKO) --- WKU Volleyball’s Paige Briggs and Lauren Matthews have been recognized by Conference USA as the Freshman of the Week and Co-Offensive Player of the Week, respectively, the league office announced Monday afternoon. The power tandem helped the Lady Topper squad to a perfect 4-0 week against Eastern Kentucky and a stout Holiday Inn – University Plaza Invite field.

Briggs collects her second Freshman of the Week nod from the conference in three weeks on The Hill. The rookie racked up 39 kills across WKU’s 13 sets of action to go along with 54 digs to lead the Red and White over the four-match span. Briggs added three more double-double performances to bring her season total up to six.

The Ortonville, Mich., native was perfect is serve-receive in 77 targets across the week. As a six-rotation player, Briggs averaged 3.00 kills per set and 4.15 digs per set to lead the Red and White in digs. Led by a 19-dig showing against Tulane, Briggs registered three outings with at least 14 digs across the week while hitting double digits three times in kills as well.

Earning her first weekly award of the 2019 campaign with the Co-Offensive Player of the Week nod, Matthews now owns two C-USA weekly honors after earning the league’s Freshman of the Week laurel last season.

Matthews opened the week with one of the biggest outings of her career – recording an .800 hitting percentage with 12 kills on 15 errorless swings in WKU’s home-opening sweep of Eastern Kentucky. Her single-match hitting clip tied for fourth-best on the program’s all-time list.

Matthews would stay hot through the weekend, adding three more outings with at least 12 kills to help WKU to its second-weekend tournament crown of the season.

She racked up 53 kills and 18 blocks across the week while averaging 4.08 kills per set, 1.38 blocks per set and 5.00 points per set to go along with her .402 hitting percentage. Matthews led WKU in kills all four matches, including 15 in the Lady Toppers’ sweep of Ohio State for the squad’s second Power Five win of the season. The Indianapolis native ripped through the Buckeye defense, working at a .414 offensive clip while adding a trio of blocks as well. She closed the weekend by racking up 14 kills over Tulane, a squad that entered the weekend ranked 13th in the nation in opponent hitting percentage, with Matthews hitting more than .100 points better than that average. She added a season-high eight blocks in the four-set victory over the Green Wave.

WKU’s trio of weekend opponents – Bowling Green (116), Ohio State (93) and Tulane (52) – all ranked within the top-125 of the most recent NCAA RPI, making the duo’s showing even more impressive. BGSU and Tulane both competed in the 2018 NIVC with the Green Wave advancing all the way to the championship match. Bowling Green is also the two-time defending Mid-American Conference regular-season champion.

Through three weeks of weekly awards, WKU Volleyball has collected five accolades with four different players earning recognition.

WKU Volleyball is in action against Tuesday evening with a tilt at Belmont on the slate. First serve against the Bruins is slated for 5 p.m. CT, from the Curb Event Center. Following the midweek match in Music City, the Lady Toppers will be home on The Hill for their next eight contests.

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