Cavanaugh Racks Up 26 Kills as Western Kentucky Escapes FAU in Five

  0 Derek Johnson | September 22nd, 2017 | College - Women's Indoor, Division I Mid-Major


  • (RV) Western Kentucky def. Florida Atlantic 3-2 (20-25, 25-15, 25-14, 21-25, 15-10)
  • (RV) Western Kentucky improves to 14-2 (1-0 C-USA); Florida Atlantic falls to 8-4 (0-1 C-USA)
  • Boca Raton, Florida (C-USA Match)
  • Box Score

Boca Raton, Florida – The Hilltoppers survived a road scare against an upstart Florida Atlantic team as they look to flex their muscle on the Conference USA once again.

While Western Kentucky has dominated the conference of late, Florida Atlantic came to play by winning the first set 25-20 as Sigourney Kane would go on to post 20 kills in the match. She was only outdone by Western Kentucky’s Alyssa Cavanaugh who would total 26 kills in the match and help Western Kentucky demolish Florida Atlantic in sets two and three.

That didn’t faze the Owls though, who won the fourth in similar fashion to the first, but they couldn’t rekindle their play in the fifth as they proved a lot in the loss but at the end of the day Western Kentucky came out on top.

Cavanaugh would hit .521 with Rachel Anderson not too far behind at .433 and 17 kills with Jessica Lucas dishing out 59 assists.

Western Kentucky has one more road match for the weekend in their C-USA start as they will face Charlotte on Sunday while Florida Atlantic takes a quick break from conference action with a road match at Bethune Cookman.


Courtesy of Western Kentucky:

BOCA RATON, Fla. – In the 2017 Conference USA opener, WKU used a career-high 26 Alyssa Cavanaugh kills to claim a hard-fought five set win on the road at Florida Atlantic (8-4). The Lady Topper offense stayed hot, hitting a collective .388 in the first five setter between the Owls and WKU in program history. WKU’s 10th-straight win of the season also marked its 22nd all-time victory over Florida Atlantic as the Red and White lead the series 22-0 now. Additionally, WKU (14-2) has now won 26-consecutive C-USA matchups including postseason play.

“We were in a battle tonight,” head coach Travis Hudson opened. “Florida Atlantic plays extremely hard and put themselves in a position to win. Conference play is a different animal and we are going to have to be ready every night. Alyssa carried us tonight in many ways – obviously she was good offensively, but she really competed and provided great leadership as well.”

Cavanaugh used a pair of eight-kill sets and a .521 hitting percentage on the night to led the WKU squad. The senior had just one error on 48 swings in the contest, finding the floor with 26 kills.

While WKU took a quick 2-0 lead to open the evening’s contest, Florida Atlantic hung around and used a seven-point run to take the lead and ultimately the frame to commence Conference USA action. Rachel Anderson‘s fourth kill of the set gave WKU a 9-5 lead but the Owls gained all the momentum they needed to take a 1-0 lead in the match. WKU hit just .188 in the opening set with 14 kills and eight attack errors against the hosts’ .265 clip.

The Owls are just the third team to take an opening frame off the Lady Toppers. WKU is now 2-1 in matches after losing the first set of a contest.

Set two opened with Florida Atlantic getting on the board first, but the Lady Toppers tallied the next four points and never relinquished that advantage. After FAU pulled within one at 7-6, WKU ran off nine-straight points for a 16-6 lead. The Owls kept fighting, but WKU closed the door on the set with a Taylor Dellinger kill for the final 25-15 margin. Hitting at a .522 clip, WKU found the floor with 13 kills to even the match at 1-1.

Following the long break, WKU stayed hot. FAU owned an early 4-3 lead after the sides traded points but WKU wouldn’t trailed again in the frame, claiming nine of the next 12 points to distance itself from the hosts. Florida Atlantic managed a sideout following a timeout to make the score 12-8, but down the stretch WKU secured the final five points with the last two coming off Sydney Engle aces. Cavanaugh recorded eight kills in the frame as the Lady Toppers hit .545 and registered a match-best 19 kills against one attack in the set. The Red and White took a 2-1 lead in the match with the 25-14 set three win.

Florida Atlantic got on the board first in set four and led it wire to wire. While the Lady Toppers stayed within striking distance throughout the set, the Owls managed to fend off any hopes of a WKU run, evening the match at 2-2. Despite another eight-kill frame from Cavanaugh and a .393 hitting clip from the Lady Toppers, the Owls claimed the set 25-21.

Heading into its second five-set match of the season, WKU came out firing to take a quick 3-0 lead in the frame off Engle’s serve. The hosts battled back to knot the decisive set at 7-7 but Taylor Dellinger found the floor with her 10th kill of the match to give WKU the lead as they switched sides. Two FAU attack errors coupled with a pair of Cavanaugh kills opened the Lady Toppers’ advantage up to 12-7 to force the Owls’ second timeout. Florida Atlantic scored the next three points out of the stoppage but WKU would have the final say, taking the match’s final three points for the 15-10 fifth set win. The Owls were held to a .000 hitting clip in the frame with six kills and six errors which couldn’t compete with seven strikes and just two errors for WKU.

Jessica Lucas facilitated the high-powered WKU offense to a .388 combined rate while dishing out a season-high 59 assists. The senior also picked up eight digs to go along with a block, an ace and a kill on the match.

In addition to Cavanaugh’s 26 kills, Anderson tallied 17 on 30 attacks (.433%) and Dellinger posted 10 (.273%) as well. The match was the first time on the season that WKU saw a trio of attackers with double digit kills. Engle added eight kills to go along with 13 digs, four blocks, three aces and two assists. Amara Listenbee got in on the action as well, notching a season-best six kills on eight attacks for a .625 hitting clip.

Listenbee led the way for the Lady Toppers on the other side of the net with seven blocks on the night which included a pair of solo stops. The Red and White tallied 12.0 blocks in the match to Florida Atlantic’s nine, marking the fifth time this season WKU has recorded double-digit stops.

Defensively, Emma Kowalkowski led the way with 15 digs, marking her fourth match of the season with 15 or more. The sophomore libero also matched her season-best of five assists. Darby Music chipped in six digs while Hallie Shelton and Dellinger each tallied four.

WKU Volleyball is now headed for Charlotte to take on the 49ers. The Sunday match has a first serve slated for noon CT from the Halton Arena. Charlotte also won its Conference USA opener in a 3-1 decision over Marshall.

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Courtesy of Florida Atlantic:

BOCA RATON, Fla. – The Florida Atlantic University volleyball team was outlasted in five sets (20-25, 25-15, 25-14, 21-25, 15-10) by WKU on Friday. It was the Conference USA opener for both teams.

Key Plays
In the first set, the Owls (8-4, 1-0 C-USA) rallied from an early deficit to take the lead and eventually won the set 25-20. Sigourney Kame had seven kills in the frame. The Hilltoppers (14-2, 1-0) roared out to a fast start and tied the match with a 25-15 set two win. Set number three was tied 5-5 when WKU went on 7-2 run to take a 12-7 lead. The Hilltoppers took the set 25-14 and a 2-1 lead. After FAU took an early five-point lead in set number four, WKU rallied to within a point on three different occasions, but never fully closed the game and the Owls won 25-21 to force a fifth set. Some sloppy play put FAU in a 4-1 hole in the fifth, but FAU fought back to tie the score at 7-7. From that point, WKU scored the next five points and that margin was the difference in the frame, with the Hilltoppers winning 15-10.

·    Sigourney Kame led the Owls with 20 kills.
·    Abbi Reid had 13 kills and Gabrielle Dixon added 10.
·    Ivone Martinez dished out 52 assists and had three service aces.
·    Alex Cardona had a team-high 12 digs.

The Owls will wrap up its non-conference schedule on Sunday, when they play at Bethune-Cookman. The match is set for a noon start.

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