WKU’s Cavanaugh Posts School Record .818 Hitting % In Win Over TSU

  0 Carly DeMarque | August 29th, 2017 | College - Women's Indoor, Division I Mid-Major, News, Video

Match Results

  • #24 Western Kentucky def. Tennessee State 3-0, (25-12, 25-15, 25-15)
  • Bowling Green, Kentucky
  • Attendance: 476
  • Match Stats

Western Kentucky dominated over Tennessee State in three sets, with senior Alyssa Cavanaugh posting a school record with a .818 hitting percentage. Cavanaugh put down 18 kills on 22 swings to make her mark in WKU program history.

The win marks the third straight season that Western Kentucky has started the season with a 4-0 record and ninth overall.

The night was started with a quick 5-2 run by WKU, with the team extending their lead to 23-10 late in the set. The Lady Toppers were able to put set number one was with a 25-12 score. The second set began much the same, with Tennessee State not being able to handle the Lady Topper offense. WKU took the 2-0 match lead with a 25-15 second set win. The final set was a close battle with the score at 17-13 late, but WKU was able to take charge to end on an 8-2 run to finish the sweep 25-15.

For WKU, Rachel Anderson posted another nine kills on top of Cavanaughs 18, while also blocking three balls. In the back court, Emma Kowalkowski picked up a match-best 15 digs while setter Jessica Lucas dished out 38 assists, leading the team to a season-best .448 hitting percentage.

Tennessee State was led offensively by Rachel Henderson with eight kills while setter Samantha Beltran handed out 15 assists.

Watch Cavanaugh’s interview following the match:

Press Release

Courtesy of Western Kentucky Athletics

Led by senior Alyssa Cavanaugh‘s school record .818 hitting percentage, No. 24 WKU Volleyball sweep Tennessee State in the 2017 Diddle Arena opener to improve to 4-0 on the young season. The Lady Toppers have now swept TSU in the last nine meetings and own a commanding 21-1 all-time record against the Tigers.

“There’s not a lot left for that kid to do,” Head coach Travis Hudson said of Cavanaugh’s historic night. “She’s certainly one of the best to ever put a jersey on. The thing that I love about her the most, I said it to my staff before the game, the thing I’m going to miss the most about Alyssa Cavanaugh is that she shows up every night. You don’t have to worry about her having an off night or not feeling like it, she shows up every night. She loves to compete, she loves the bright lights… when the bright lights are on, that kid’s always ready.”

Cavanaugh tallied a season-high 18 kills in the three-set sweep on 22 attacks for the program record efficiency rating.

When asked about her performance, Cavanaugh shared “I expect myself to come out and play my game every night, the record is just a perk. I just want to show off my team and I’m glad I could do that tonight. I couldn’t have done it without our defense and Jess [Lucas] though.”

This year’s 4-0 start marks the third-straight start of the sort to a season and the ninth time a team has started the year 4-0 in program history. Eight of those squads have been coached by Hudson.

WKU got the night started by jumping out to a quick 5-2 lead in the first frame after Cavanaugh put the first point on the board with a kill. The Red and White soon extended their lead out to a 10-4 advantage with Rachel Anderson notching her four first-set kills in that span. Three straight aces off the serve of freshman Hallie Shelton, the first of her career, upped the margin to 16-5. Maggie Singleton checked in late in the set to register her first kill of the season, giving WKU a 23-10 advantage before the Lady Toppers closed the set with a 25-12 victory.

After four first set kills, Cavanaugh caught fire for nine more in the second frame alone. The Louisville native put nine of her 10 strikes down for kills in the set. Jumping out to a 10-6 lead and forcing a TSU timeout, WKU never looked back in the second set, ultimately claiming a 25-15 victory to go ahead 2-0 in the match.

Following the long break, WKU closed things out but opening up a 17-13 third-set advantage over Tennessee State. The Lady Toppers closed shut the door on the Tigers by scoring the match’s final five points on two kills apiece from Anderson and Cavanaugh and an Emma Kowalkowski ace for the final 25-15 line.

“I think we played everyone on our roster, that’s available,” Hudson started. “We worked our whole roster in and when you do that it’s hard to have a rhythm, and at times I didn’t think we had a rhythm, but it was a valuable opportunity to work through things. Alyssa Cavanaugh went out and did what we need a senior to do in games like this, just to be a presence. I’m happy to get the win.”

Anderson finished the night with nine kills on 13 attacks for a .615 hitting clip while adding a team-high three blocks at the net. Taylor DellingerSydney Engle and Jessica Lucas each chipped in five kills while hitting a collective .343. All three also contributed at least three digs and a block.

Lucas led the offense to a season-best .448 team hitting percentage on the night. The Lady Toppers dropped 47 kills on 87 swings with just eight errors across the match. Lucas closed the book with 38 assists matching her season-high for a three-set match.

Kowalkowski led the defense with 15 digs for her third double-digit outing of the season.

Across the entire match there was just one tie score which came at 1-1 before the Lady Toppers took control.

The Lady Toppers are back in action this weekend, heading north to the Louisville-hosted Cardinal Classic. WKU will take on the Cardinals Friday night before playing Illinois and Kent State on Saturday.

“They’re opening a newly renovated Cardinal Arena, beautiful facility they’ve put together for them,” Hudson said of the Louisville facilities. “It’s a sellout already and it’s going to be crazy in there. They’ve got a new coach and they’re all excited. The challenge is going to be great, they’re going to be really good and really tough to beat. We have to wake up the next morning and play Illinois out of the Big Ten, so within about 12-14 hours we’re playing two of probably the best five or six teams on our schedule. We’re going to have to play well, but I just want to see us go compete at a high level. If we do that, we’ll live with it.”

Press Release

Courtesy of Tennessee State Athletics

The Tennessee State volleyball team fell to nationally ranked Western Kentucky 3-0 (25-12, 25-15, 25-15) Tuesday evening in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The loss is the third for TSU this season.

The Lady Hilltoppers which are ranked number 24 nationally, ceased control of play early in set one, and maintained the upper-hand throughout the match.

The loss against WKU leaves the Tigers 1-3 going into the weekend where they host the first-ever tournament in Kean Hall.


  • Setter Samantha Beltran set up her teammates with 15 assists on the night.
  • Rachel Henderson’s eight kills led the way for the Tigers. Four of her kills came in the opening set.
  • Julia Pierson added two block assists on defense for the Tigers.


First Set:  After a back-and-forth start to the match, Western Kentucky seized control of the first set with a 8-0 run. The stretch turned TSU’s five-point deficit to a 12-point hole at 17-5. The Tigers continued to battle but could not overcome WKU’s .471 hitting percentage in the set, falling by a 25-12 score in the set.

Second Set: The Tigers looked to come back in the second set and kept up with the Toppers due to significant contributions from our outside hitter Rachel Henderson who had three kills. Tennessee State couldn’t combat the nine kills by WKU’s outside hitter Alyssa Cavanaugh , falling 25-15 in the second set.

Third Set: The third set was riddled with service errors (10). TSU and WKU couldn’t seem to get the ball over the net. The Tigers trailed the entire third set letting the Lady Toppers go on a 6-0 run, eventually leading to the fall of the Tigers 25-15.


  • TSU’s all-time record against WKU is 1-21.
  • Western Kentucky is ranked No. 24 nationally in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll, which was released on Monday.

Tennessee State will host its very first tournament Sept. 1-2 in Kean Hall this weekend against Head Coach Donika Sutton’s alma mater Alcorn State, as well as Florida International and New Orleans.

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About Carly DeMarque

Carly DeMarque

Carly DeMarque has been involved with competitive volleyball for the majority of her life, playing competitively at the club and collegiate level for 15 years and coaching club for five. Now a retired Division I volleyball athlete out of McNeese State University, she continues her volleyball enthusiasm by stepping back into …

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