Hilltoppers sweep away 11th game in a row behind Matthews’ double-double
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – No.20 WKU Volleyball swept its 11e-direct match to take his NCAA top conference winning streak to 39 games with Saturday’s victory over Middle Tennessee. The Hilltoppers operated with a scorching .458 hitting clip while keeping the Blue Raiders to just a .143 mark.
“We’re happy to have taken the win – another 3-0 sweep, I can’t complain about that – especially against the number two team in the division,” began the WKU head coach. Travis Hudson. “It was a very different game from last night. Last night I thought we had a lot of missed missions defensively and today I thought we were a lot stronger in terms of scouting report, but we had a lot of missed games that were right in front of us than we usually do. Overall I’m really proud; another 3-0, 3-0 sweeping weekend so we’re happy to go from there before from here. “
With the victory, WKU has won 33 straight sets and now stands at 18-1 for the 2021 season and 41-2 in the year 2021. The Hilltoppers climb to 6-0 in Conference USA while MTSU has moved up to 7-7 in total and 5-3 in the league.
Lauren Matthews continued his tear through opposing defenses, totaling 18 kills on a 0.773 hitting percentage to increase his season hitting average to 0.493. Matthews entered today with a score of 0.478, which ranks among the top five in NCAA volleyball with updated stats coming Monday.
“Ten blocks rarely happen in volleyball in a five-set game and it did in a three-set game,” Hudson said of Matthews’ double-double. “And the things she’s doing offensively right now are just unknown. Only Lauren and I fully understand that, but we both know she can be better. I know it sounds crazy, but there is has things that we see every time we sit down and watch film together. But that’s also precisely why Lauren is good, when she plays well, she isn’t comfortable there, she keeps looking ways to improve. And that’s all the mindset I want our team to have. I want our team to constantly strive to be better even though we are successful. “
Over the weekend, WKU beat Middle Tennessee 23-2 as the Hilltoppers completed 12 blocks on Saturday.
WKU vs. Middle Tennessee – 25-19, 25-22, 25-14
WKU won the first two points of the match thanks to back-to-back wins of Katie howard and Mathieu. The Tops held a 6-3 lead after a Blue Raiders’ serve error, but a 5-0 MTSU run gave the visitors their first lead at 8-6. WKU responded with a 4-0 run, capped by a kill by Kayland jackson to regain the lead, 10-8. The Tops would never give up the lead again, starting another 4-0 run ending in another Jackson kill to keep the lead at 15-10. The Blue Raiders would narrow the lead to just one at 18-17, but a 7-2 run for the Tops would give them what they needed to complete the set, taking the lead 1-0, 25-19. The Hilltoppers operated at a .400 clip in frame, registering 12 kills for six blocks, while keeping the Blue Raiders at a .073 mark.
WKU took an early 7-2 lead after a Katie Isenbarger, forcing the Blue Raiders to request a time out. The Tops continued to extend their lead to eight, holding a 15-7 advantage after a victory by Matthews. MTSU responded with an 11-4 run to reduce Hilltopper’s lead to one point at 19-18, forcing a WKU timeout. After the break, the teams would have four ties before the Tops went on a 3-0 streak to close the set. Nadia Dieudonne and Matthews would combine to make the winning block go up 2-0, by a score of 25-22. The Tops reached 0.433 in the set, racking up 15 kills in the frame.
“Middle wasn’t really doing anything that we didn’t know they were gearing up to happen, but what I can say is you’ve seen time and time again our team never give up or go down, we will always fight. I don’t particularly like having to fight back because if we did the right things in the first place, we wouldn’t be in that position. Having been in these situations though, I’m not surprised that our team would go. keep fighting and believing that they are going to come back and win sets because they have done it time and time again. “
Out of the break, WKU would take a quick 3-0 lead and first hit double digits at 10-5, after three consecutive aces from Logan kael, MTSU then called the timeout to chat. Hilltopper’s lead would stretch to double digits after a 4-0 run that consisted of a kill by Katie Isenbarger and two kills, as well as a block of Lauren Matthews, to give them the 18-8 advantage. The Blue Raiders would reduce the lead to seven at 19-12, but that’s as close as it gets. WKU then ran 5-0 to give them match point, 24-12. An end-of-match kill of Lauren Matthews would give the victory to the Red and Whites, 25-14. The third set saw WKU hit a 0.588 clip, registering 11 kills and six aces in the frame.
Matthews had 18 kills on 22 swings, hitting a 0.773 clip to go with 10 blocks, which would be his second double-double of his career. She is the only player in the history of the program to record a double-double of kills-blocks, doing so twice.
Dieudonné had 30 assists that day, along with three digs, one kill, two blocks and an ace while leading WKU to their third straight game with 0.400 or better, and their seventh outing this season.
Kayland jackson shot in five kills on .714 hit and six blocks on the day. Paige briggs scored five kills, 10 digs and an ace.
Kael finished with 10 digs and a career-high, four aces, three of them in a row.
WKU will travel to Boca Raton next weekend for a clash against US Conference opponent Florida Atlantic.
- WKU brought back the previous range of Paige briggs, Katie Howard, Lauren Matthews, Katie Isenbarger, Kayland jackson, Nadia Dieudonne and Logan kael at libero. This is the fifth different starting line-up to hit the ground for WKU.
- WKU leads the all-time series against Middle Tennessee 54-16 and has now won 19 straight games against the Blue Raiders since 2011.
- With one more ace, Hallie Shelton is at 12 in his last five outings. She now sits at 169 as a Hilltopper, which is seven aces to tie for third on the program’s all-time roster.
- With 18 victories, Lauren Matthews rows 13e on WKU’s 1237 career wins list, 28 wins are far from tied for 12th on the program’s all-time list.
- With this victory, the Hilltoppers improve to 18-1 (6-0 C-USA) over the season and 16-0 in straight sets.
- WKU have now won 33 straight sets with 11 straight sweeps since losing only.
- The Tops’ NCAA best conference winning streak is 39 with Friday’s win, breaking the American conference record already held by WKU.
- With today’s results, the head coach Travis Hudson now has 683-217 during his career.
- WKU Volleyball is now at an all-time program record of 961-492 with Friday’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 present on Instagram and Facebook.