Western Kentucky Wins Record 30th Straight Conference USA Match

  0 Julie Haake | October 07th, 2017 | College - Women's Indoor, Division I Mid-Major, News


  • Western Kentucky defeats Southern Miss, 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-14)
  • WKU improves to 18-2; Southern Miss drops to 12-8
  • Bowling Green, Kentucky
  • Attendance: 517
  • Box Score

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The Lady Toppers defeated the Golden Eagles Friday night in a record-setting win in the Diddle Arena. This marks the 30th straight Conference USA win for Western Kentucky.

Western Kentucky hit .398 on the match, with a .548 clip in the first. They held Southern Miss to .194 hitting percentage. The Golden Eagles out-blocked the Lady Toppers 9-4.

Western Kentucky setter, Jessica Lucas, totaled 40 assists, three kills, ten digs, and two block assists for a double-double. On the other side of the net, Sarah Bell notched 31 assists, eight digs, and two kills.

Two Western Kentucky players posted double-figure kills with Alyssa Cavanaugh totaling 24 kills on a .476 clip. Rachel Anderson recorded 13 kills on a .385 hitting percentage.

Southern Miss’s offense was led by Kylie Grandy with 14 kills on a .186 clip.

The Lady Toppers will face Austin Peay on Tuesday night and the Golden Eagles will face Louisiana Tech next Friday.



Courtesy of Western Kentucky Athletics

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — History was made Friday night by the WKU Volleyball team, which set a new Conference USA record of 30 straight wins against league opponents with a home sweep over Southern Miss.

The Lady Toppers (18-2) improved to 5-0 in C-USA play this season with their fourth straight 3-0 sweep, powered by senior Alyssa Cavanaugh‘s impressive 24 kills in just three sets.

The 30th straight victory over league foes – which includes regular season and postseason action – broke the previous conference record of 29 consecutive wins set by Louisville from October 2003 until the Cardinals left for the Big East Conference. WKU’s record streak began on Nov. 1, 2015.

“It says a lot about our program – not just our team or our kids,” WKU head coach Travis Hudson said. “It says a lot about the program we’ve built, because that spans over a three-year period. To be ready to play every night against quality opponents is something we’re really, really proud of.”

C-USA programs have won at least 20 straight conference matches just five times in the league’s history, including WKU twice. The Lady Toppers also put together a 20-match winning streak in league play from 2014-15.

In addition to the new league record, WKU has also won 14 straight matches overall this season. The Lady Toppers have won 48 straight home contests against C-USA foes at E.A. Diddle Arena.

“You just go into every game doing your best and putting your best foot forward, and that’s just a perk,” Cavanaugh said. “The winning streak is just a perk. It’s not something that we focus on, but it’s a great reward for our hard work.”

The teams went back and forth early in the first set, with neither squad leading by more than one until Southern Miss opened a 16-14 advantage. The Golden Eagles led 18-15 when WKU began to rally, eventually tying it at 21-21 on back-to-back kills by junior Rachel Anderson.

The Lady Toppers ultimately scored the final six points of the set, closing out the 25-21 win on a block combo from Anderson and senior Sydney Engle. WKU hit .548 in the first set.

WKU used a similar strong finish in the second set, scoring four straight crucial points to break an 18-all tie. Cavanaugh opened the set with two straight kills, tallied the team’s first ace and later broke the 18-18 stalemate with another two kills.

Cavanaugh had nine kills in the second set alone, including the final attack to claim a 25-23 victory.

Cavanaugh opened the third set with four straight kills, and WKU scored 13 of the final 15 points of the set to secure the 25-14 decision.

Southern Miss fell to 12-8 overall and 2-2 in conference play.

“I think tonight was a veteran win,” Hudson said. “We were behind in a lot of these sets and kept our composure and made winning plays at the end of sets. I think that has to do with the fact that we have a lot of kids that have been in big matches that are comfortable in those situations.”

WKU finished with a .398 hitting percentage and held Southern Miss to a .194 clip.

Cavanaugh’s 24 kills were just two shy of her career high, which she achieved at Florida Atlantic this season in a five-set match. Her 24 kills were a new career high for a three-set match and actually tied her record for a four-set match.

Anderson added 13 kills and four blocks, while senior Jessica Lucas notched her fifth double-double of the year with 40 assists and 10 digs. Engle chipped in eight kills and a team-high 11 digs.

The Lady Toppers’ homestand concludes next week as they close regular season nonconference play by hosting Austin Peay at 7 p.m. CT Tuesday at Diddle Arena.

“I think people had fun tonight, watching this team play,” Hudson said. “They don’t have many opportunities left to watch Alyssa Cavanaugh and Jessica Lucas and Sydney Engle and these kids play. They’re pretty special to watch, and they certainly were tonight.”

Courtesy of Southern Miss Athletics

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — A furious first-set rally by No. 27 WKU was too much for Southern Miss to overcome the rest of the way, falling in a sweep (21-25, 23-25, 14-25) on Friday night.

“We were competitive in the first two sets and that was very encouraging,” head coach Amanda Berkley said. “A few points either way and that is a different match at times. WKU is a talented and consistent team and we have to learn to have that consistency. I was impressed in the first two sets with Sarah Bell running the offense and giving her hitters one-on-ones.”

It was a full-on, tick-for-tack battle in the first set with traded points until Kelsey Chambers’ kill forced WKU to call a timeout down 18-15. The Lady Toppers continued to chip away, but Alexis Coombs extended the lead to 21-19 with a kill. WKU then picked up three kills and took advantage of three attack errors to end the set on a 6-0 run.

The Golden Eagles (12-8, 2-2 C-USA) went right back to it in the second set. Alyssa Cavanaugh broke the 18-all tie in the second set with back-to-back kills, en route to a 24-kill night. Southern Miss did get within 23-22 and 24-23 on a Coombs kill and Cavanaugh error, but another one of her kills gave WKU the narrow edge and 2-0 lead.

In all, there were 28 ties and 12 lead changes within the first two sets.

WKU (18-2, 5-0 C-USA) in the process set a Conference USA record with 30 consecutive league wins. The Lady Toppers also hit .548 in the first set and .398 for the match.

Sunday’s originally-scheduled match with UTEP has been pushed to Monday, Oct. 16 at 1 p.m. due to impending weather in the Gulf of Mexico. Instead, the next Southern Miss volleyball match will be at Louisiana Tech on Friday.

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