Dallas, TX (WBKO) --- Two Lady Toppers collected Conference USA Player of the Week honors for their contributions in WKU Volleyball’s two-win weekend in the Sunshine State. Lauren Matthews earned Co-Offensive Player of the Week recognition while Logan Kael was tabbed the league’s Defensive Player of the Week.
Matthews was recognized after dominating the road trip with a pair of 14+ kill matches. She helped the Lady Topper squad end the second-longest home win streak in the country while at Florida Atlantic, as WKU became the first team in 22 matches to leave the arena with a victory. In addition to her 15 kills on .333 hitting in the four-set win in Boca Raton, Matthews registered five blocks, including two solo stuffs, as the Lady Toppers handled the team they were picked to finish behind in the Preseason Coaches Poll back in August.
After a slow start in Miami, the sophomore turned it on when the Tops needed her most. With WKU trailing 19-16 in set three as FIU looked to avoid a sweep, Matthews rotated back into the match and delivered five kills and two blocks -during that rotation - to secure WKU's NCAA-best 13th sweep of the season. The Indianapolis native racked 29 total kills on .377 hitting clip while tallying nine blocks for a 4.14 kills per set, 1.29 blocks per set, and an overall 4.93 points per set mark.
Junior libero Kael, brought home her first individual award of the 2019 season as she was named C-USA Defensive Player of the Week. The Knoxville, Tenn. native was nearly flawless as she anchored the Lady Topper defense to help secure WKU Volleyball's best start in program history at 19-1. In addition to her 20 digs, Kael was perfect in serve-receive across 29 receptions and delivered a 96.8-percent rating from the service line for the Tops. Thanks to Kael's efforts on defense, WKU held its third opponent of the season to a sub .100 hitting percentage on the match, as FIU was stifled to a mere .063 hitting clip in the Tops. With Kael in the back row, WKU put an end to FAU's home win streak that stood at second-longest in the NCAA, as well as terminating FIU's sixth-longest home win streak in the country.
With this week’s awards from Matthews and Kael, WKU has now collected 11 awards through the first seven weeks of distribution. The Lady Toppers are the only team in the league that has earned an award each week and is also the lone squad to have players recognized for each of the four awards.
Stellar performances from both Matthews and Kael helped lead the Lady Toppers to an NCAA-best 19th win with the pair of week seven wins. With 15-straight victories, WKU has also matched the sixth-longest win streak in program history. Standing at 19-1, the Red & White also now own the best start in WKU Volleyball history.
The squad will travel to Middle Tennessee on Friday for the second installment of the rivalry with first serve slated for 6 p.m. CT. On Sunday, the Tops resume play in Diddle Arena against the Roadrunners of UTSA for one of just four home matches remaining.