Lucas Reaches Career Milestone as (RV) Western Kentucky Sweeps UAB

  0 Bill Stadick | October 29th, 2017 | College - Women's Indoor, Division I Mid-Major, News


Western Kentucky (RV) defeated the visiting UAB Blazers in straight sets on Senior Day behind a balanced offensive attack led by senior setter Jessica Lucas, who dished out 35 assists, including the 5,000th of her career.

The Lady Toppers were led offensively by two players with 12 kills each: senior opposite Sydney Engle and junior outside Taylor Dillinger, who hit at a .522 clip. Senior outside Alyssa Cavanaugh added eight kills on .538 hitting.

“Today’s match went pretty well,” Western Kentucky head coach Travis Hudson said. “You never know how Senior Day emotion is going to affect your kids. I thought it affected us very positively today. I thought we were sharp, I thought we got a lot of great efforts from a lot of people. It turned out to be a really complete effort for us which I’m hoping to see again.”

For the Blazers, two seniors notched double-digit kills: senior outside Haley Jared (13 kills) and senior outside Gabby Deshotel (11 kills). Freshman setter Shelby Holderfield registered 31 assists.

The first two sets were all Western Kentucky as they won by comfortable 25-14 and 25-15 margins. In the third, the Blazers held leads on three separate occasions and the set was knotted at 17 before the Lady Toppers went on a 8-3 run to seal the victory 25-20.

Next up, Western Kentucky heads to Texas for a Friday match against Rice, while the Blazers return home to play Southern Mississippi, also on Friday.


Courtesy: Western Kentucky Athletics

Lucas’ 5,000th Career Assist Helps WKU Volleyball to Senior Day Sweep

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – After honoring its five seniors – Alyssa CavanaughSydney Engle, Amara Listenbee, Jessica Lucas and Maggie Singleton – prior to the match, WKU Volleyball went on to sweep UAB from Diddle Arena Sunday afternoon. Senior setter Lucas registered a remarkable milestone on the day, recording her 5,000th career assist in the third set on a Sydney Engle kill. The victory marked WKU’s 21st-straight victory to match last year’s win streak and tie the program’s second-longest streak.

“Today’s match went pretty well,” head coach Travis Hudson opened. “You never know how Senior Day emotion is going to affect your kids. I thought it affected us very positively today. I thought we were sharp, I thought we got a lot of great efforts from a lot of people. It turned out to be a really complete effort for us which I’m hoping to see again.”

“Three of those five, Sydney, Alyssa, and Jess, are kids that have played in just about every match since they’ve been here on The Hill for four years,” Hudson continued. “During that time we’ve won three conference championships, three conference tournament championships, been in the Top 25 for all four years they’ve been here and they’re on the verge of another championship now. You can’t ask much more, but they give you more. They’re great students as well and they’ll get their degrees. They’re great in the community and they make my job a lot easier.”

WKU finished the regular season with a perfect 12-0 record on the E.A. Diddle Arena hardwood this year and will have a chance to extend that mark next month when the 2017 Conference USA Championships are held in Bowling Green. The last time the Lady Toppers did not lose a home match in a season was the 2014 campaign. An undefeated home regular season has been accomplished five times now in program history.

The Lady Toppers are now 25-2 on the season with an 11-0 mark in Conference USA tilts. Additionally, the squad has won its last 36 meetings with a C-USA foe and its last 52 matches against a conference opponent at home.

Set one got underway with an ace off the serve of Lucas. No side owned a lead larger than two until Taylor Dellinger found the floor for a kill to put WKU up 10-7 in the frame. A Dellinger and Rachel Anderson block followed by two Anderson kills forced UAB to call for a stoppage trailing 13-7. Dellinger struck again on the other side of the timeout to double the Red and White’s lead before the Blazers finally got a stop. WKU strung together four points on the serve of Engle to push ahead to a 20-11 advantage before clinching the set 25-14 on another Dellinger kill. Lucas, Anderson and Dellinger each tallied four strikes in the set as WKU worked at a .552 hitting clip. Defensively, Emma Kowalkowski and Cavanaugh each recorded four digs to lead WKU.

Second set action began with UAB opening up a 3-0 lead out of the gate, however, WKU responded with six unanswered points to take the lead and never looked back. Dellinger produced three kills during that run and finished with five in the set. The Blazers hung around before WKU began to separate itself down the stretch. Trailing 16-10 after a Sophia Cerino service ace, UAB called for a timeout but WKU continued its run as Engle notched a pair of kills on either side of another Cerino ace to put the Lady Toppers up 19-10. UAB managed to string together a small run late in the set, but WKU powered through late on the serve of Mary Martin to claim the set 25-15. The Lady Toppers combined for a team hitting clip of .536 in the frame with the help of 18 WKU kills. Singleton and Cavanaugh teamed up for a pair of block assists as the hosts posted three team blocks in the set.

In the day’s final frame, Engle helped the Red and White on the board first with a solo block on the opening point. UAB responded and went on to hold the lead into the heart of the set at 14-13 before Cavanaugh and Lucas notched back-to-back kills to put WKU out front. The Lady Toppers would not trail again after the sides traded points on the next eight serves. After a UAB service error, Hudson called for a stop to refocus the team and WKU responded by scoring the following four points before a Listenbee kill closed the book at 25-20. The Lady Toppers worked at a .345 hitting percentage in the set, led by Engle’s four kills.

“I didn’t even realize until after the match was over after I shook hands, I looked around and saw what a crowd we had in here on a Sunday afternoon,” Hudson said of the Senior Day crowd. “Pro football and church and everything that’s going on, to see the number of people that came out to pay their respects to these seniors I think says a lot about the kind of kids they are and what they’ve accomplished in their time.”

On the day Engle and Dellinger each registered a team-high 12 kills. Dellinger worked at an efficient .522 clip while Engle produced a .381 percentage. Dellinger chipped in three digs and a block assist while Engle posted four digs, three assists and three blocks.

Cavanaugh tallied eight kills on 13 swings for a .538 efficiency rate in addition to four digs and a pair of blocks. Anderson finished the day with seven kills and a .308 hitting percentage to go along with three digs, an assist and a block.

In addition to her milestone, Lucas finished the day with 35 assists, seven kills, six digs and a service ace while hitting at a .636 percentage.

Collectively, WKU Volleyball hit at a .477 rate on the day while holding UAB to a .230 reading. The Lady Toppers finished with 35 team digs, led by six from both Lucas and Kowalkowski. Darby Music chipped in five digs as well. Ten of the 12 Lady Toppers that saw action recorded a dig in the match.

Cerino finished the sweep with three aces, marking the fifth straight match she’s posted multiple aces. The sophomore has collected 15 aces during that period.

With three regular season matches remaining, WKU will hit the road next weekend for a Friday trip to Rice before heading to Middle Tennessee on Sunday. After a mid-week match with North Texas the following Thursday, the Lady Toppers will return to Diddle Arena as WKU is the host of the 2017 C-USA Volleyball Championships.

Courtesy: UAB Athletics

Blazers Fall to WKU

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The UAB volleyball team fell to WKU for the second time this season 3-0 (25-14, 25-15, 25-20) Sunday at E.A. Diddle Arena.

The Blazers (11-16, 4-7 C-USA) had two players with double-digit kills as Haley Jared and Gabby Deshotel had 13 and 11 kills respectively. Deshotel hit .304 during the match while Jared hit at .182. Jared also added a service ace and three digs.

Deshotel tallied five digs and two blocks. Freshman Shelby Holderfield scored 31 assists for the Blazers, two kills and had a block and three digs. Kaylee Gilchrist had a season high and tem high 10 digs in the match.

WKU (25-2, 11-0) also had two players in double-digits with Sydney Engle and Taylor Dillinger both recording 12 kills each. Alyssa Cavanaugh also tallied eight kills for the Hilltoppers. Jessica Lucas led WKU in both digs and assists with 35 assists and six digs.

The Hilltoppers controlled the action throughout the match as they won the first set 25-14 and the second set 25-15. UAB fought back in the third set and took leads of three points on three separate occasions.

With the third set tied at 17, WKU closed on an 8-3 run to win the third set 25=20 and win the match 3-0.

UAB will return home on Friday, Nov. 3 as it takes on Southern Miss. First serve is set for 7 p.m. CT.

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