WKU Volleyball Wins C-USA East Championship on Senior & Alumni Night – Western Kentucky
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – In front of its largest crowd of the regular season, No. 18 WKU Volleyball swept Old Dominion on the Hilltoppers’ Senior and Alumni Night to win the Conference USA East Division Championship. The Red and White have now won 15-straight matches along with an NCAA-best 43 consecutive conference matches.
“I’ll never quit saying this, I think it’s so much more difficult to win a regular season championship than it is a tournament,” head coach Travis Hudson shared. “I’m so proud of our players for grinding and doing that, and then to do it on homecoming weekend in front of so many of our former players to play here at WKU, just a lot of emotion for me. I’m so very proud of everything that happened tonight and everything that this program is about.”
No. 18 WKU Volleyball is now 22-1 on the season while also improving to 10-0 in conference play. Old Dominion moved to 11-13 overall and 3-7 in league play. The Hilltoppers have swept all four meetings against the Monarchs in program history.
WKU is 45-2 across the 2021 calendar year and 77-4 across the last three seasons since the Hilltoppers six seniors have all been on The Hill.
Since joining Conference USA prior to the 2014 season, WKU Volleyball has won seven of eight possible regular season titles and six of seven possible tournament championships. Combined, the Hilltoppers has claimed 13 of 15 possible volleyball championships.
Honored in the evening’s pre-match Senior Night ceremony were Taylor Bebout, Nadia Dieudonne, Ashley Hood, Kayland Jackson, Logan Kael and Hallie Shelton. Additionally, the program welcomed back nearly 30 alumni to share the special evening with.
Old Dominion at WKU – 25-18, 25-15, 25-15
For the second night in a row, Old Dominion won the first point of the match. From there, it was a back and forth affair out to an 8-8 tie before back-to-back kills from Jackson pushed the Hilltoppers into double digits at 10-8. WKU pushed out to a four-point lead at 18-14 forcing a timeout from the Monarchs. Up 20-17, Lauren Matthews struck for a kill before Ashley Hood followed with one of her three aces for a 22-17 advantage while forcing ODU’s second stoppage. Old Dominion would sideout out of the break but WKU closed the set with a 3-0 run for the 25-18 decision. Matthews and Jackson each tallied five kills in the set.
The Hilltoppers jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the second set before extending it to 6-2 on another kill from Matthews forcing Old Dominion to call a timeout. ODU pulled within 8-6 before the Red and White would start piecing together scoring runs. Hood extended the lead to 15-7 with her third ace of the match. The Monarchs went on a run of their own cutting the lead to five points at 17-12 but Paige Briggs ended the run with a kill and WKU never looked back, winning the set 25-15.
Out of the break, Old Dominion held a 6-4 lead. With kills from Briggs and Matthews, the Tops went on a 3-0 run to take the lead, 7-6. The Monarchs responded with a run of their own stretching their lead to 9-7. Old Dominion extended the lead to 11-8 forcing Hudson to call his lone timeout of the match. Out of the timeout, Jackson slammed one down the line to cut the lead to 11-9. Behind kills from Matthews and Howard, the Red and White went on another 3-0 run to retake the lead at 14-13. With back-to-back kills from Katie Isenbarger and Matthews, the Hilltoppers extended the lead to 18-15, when the Monarchs would use their final timeout. With kills by Isenbarger and Briggs as well as an ace by Kael, the Tops extended their lead to 22-15 and would ultimately close the match on a 10-0 run.
Matthews finished with 17 kills on 24 swings, hitting at a .625 clip to go along with five digs.
Dieudonne racked up 38 assists while leading the WKU offense to a .379 hitting clip. She also added five digs, two kills and one block.
Jackson showed out on senior day with 11 kills on a .588 hitting percentage. Briggs would finish with six kills, six digs and two assists. Katie Isenbarger had seven kills, two blocks and an ace.
Defensively, Shelton tallied a team-high 11 digs followed by Kael with 10. Kael also added two aces on the night.
WKU will travel to Charlotte, North Carolina for two matches against the 49ers next weekend, Nov. 5 and 7.
- WKU used the lineup of Paige Briggs, Katie Howard, Lauren Matthews, Katie Isenbarger, Kayland Jackson, Nadia Dieudonne and Logan Kael at libero for the fourth-straight match. This is the fifth different starting lineup to hit the floor for WKU and the unit is 5-0.
- WKU leads all-time series against Old Dominion, 4-0, sweeping all three meetings.
- With the win, the Hilltoppers improve to 22-1 (10-0 C-USA) on the season.
- The Tops’ NCAA-best conference win streak is up to 43 with Friday’s victory, continuing to surpass the previous Conference USA record already held by WKU (38).
- With the day’s results, head coach Travis Hudson is now 687-217 across his career.
- WKU Volleyball is now up to an all-time program record of 965-492 with Friday’s win.
How to Follow WKU Volleyball: For complete information on WKU Volleyball, follow the team on Twitter at @WKUVolleyball and head coach Travis Hudson at @TravisHudsonWKU. The team is also on Instagram and Facebook.