Defense shines as highs close WKU volleyball invitational sweep
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU Volleyball closed its fourth consecutive weekend of the season with a tournament sweep after beating St. John’s in straight sets Saturday afternoon inside EA Diddle Arena. The Hilltoppers swept through all three to win the WKU Volleyball Invite crown – their third tournament title of the season.
âI always say there are three levels of defense in our game – there’s serve, there’s blocking and there’s ground defense – and to do the job we did today against St. John’s you have to be pretty good at all of them and we were, “WKU head coach shared. Travis Hudson. “We served him well, we blocked him well and we played good defense on the ground. It’s a good recipe for winning.”
WKU ended St. John’s eight-game winning streak as the Red Storm rose to 9-5 this season with the loss.
Hudson’s counterpart on the St. John’s bench – Joanne Persico – is one of eight NCAA Division I head coaches who have spent their careers at the same institution longer than Hudson. In his 28th season, Persico and Hudson entered the game with 1,198 combined wins for a 0.679 winning percentage over 55 collective seasons at the head of their programs.
Lauren Matthews won WKU Volleyball Invite MVP honors after hitting 0.407 over the weekend and racking up 15 blocks (six solo). Katie Isenbarger joined his compatriot on the All-Tournament squad after working out with an efficiency of .425 and totaling 10 blocks (two solo).
WKU vs. St. John’s – 25-19, 25-16, 25-19
WKU took an early 12-6 lead behind a solid block from Paige briggs and Isenbarger. A Hallie Shelton The serve pushed the Tops to a 15-8 advantage, forcing St. John’s out of the frame for the second timeout. WKU’s seven-point margin would only grow the rest of the way to a 25-14 first-set victory. The Red & Whites worked at a .300 hit percentage while keeping St. Johns at -.093.
WKU took another early 8-4 lead before St. John’s made a run reducing the lead to 13-11 before closing the score at 14-14. On a timeout, Matthews hit for a kill and the head. Briggs would break a 19-19 tie with a kill to trigger a 3-0 run, extending his lead to 22-19. WKU would ultimately claim the set 25-21 on a St. John’s error. The Hilltoppers turned up the heat in the second set, reaching a mark of 0.429.
Hudson called for a rare third-quarter timeout after St. John’s opened up a 7-3 lead in the third set. WKU managed a 3-0 run after the timeout behind strong strikes from Kayland jackson and Paige briggs. The Hilltoppers took a 12-9 lead after another Jackson win. From there, a 7-0 run took WKU’s lead to 18-11. WKU kept their foot on the gas to win the set and the match, 25-14.
Friday September 17th – No. 23 WKU def. Ohio, 3-0
Friday September 17th – No. 23 WKU def. Austin Peay, 3-0
Saturday September 18 – No. 23 WKU def. St. Johns, 3-0
WKU will continue their homestand next weekend as Marshall comes to town for a two-game series to open the Conference USA game. Diddle Arena action is scheduled for a first serve at 6 p.m. Friday night, followed by a noon start on Saturday.
Flexible membership packages are on sale now and include 13 vouchers that fans can redeem at any regular season home game, however they choose. Fans can opt for the traditional use of a single ticket for all 13 home matches or bring a group to a few matches. Flexible ticket packages are available for $ 50 at WKUTickets.com, by calling 1-800-5-BIGRED or by going to the WKU box office during regular business hours.
- WKU has refined its range as Paige briggs, Nadia Dieudonne, Lauren Matthews, Hallie Shelton, Kayland jackson, Katie Howard and Kelsey Branger (libero) earned begins the day. The new Tops line was his third different look of the season and this combination is now 1-0.
- Lauren Matthews recorded a record 12 kills while hitting 0.529. She now has 11 double-digit kills this season and 67 during her career.
- Kelsey Branger led WKU in kills with 10 for their second straight double-digit game and third of the season.
- WKU held St. John’s at .032 (30-27-95) hitting percentage – the lowest by an opponent this season. The Tops have now held four opponents below a .100 clip.
- The Hilltoppers won the first-ever game against St. John’s in a 3-0 sweep.
- With the wins, the Hilltoppers improve to 11-1 on the season and 9-0 in straight sets.
- With today’s results, the head coach Travis Hudson now has 676-217 during his career.
- WKU Volleyball is now at an all-time program record of 954-492 with Saturday’s victory.
How to follow WKU Volleyball: For full information on WKU Volleyball, follow the team on Twitter at @WKUVolleyball and head coach Travis Hudson To @TravisHudsonWKU. The team is also on Instagram and Facebook.