Hilltoppers Down Lady Vols in Three

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The No. 21 Hilltopper Volleyball team swept the Tennessee Lady Volunteers, 3-0 for the program’s first win over the UTK program and  47th Power Five win in the Hudson era. A heavy-blocking match up in Knoxville, the Tops held their SEC opponent to a .091 hitting clip, averaging four blocks a set inside Thompson-Boling Arena.
Lauren Matthews led the way on both offense and defense, picking up 15 kills and nine blocks on the front line – she tabbed a .401 clip off of 32 attacks in the front line.”Very proud of our team for being able to go on the road and get a win against a high-quality opponent.” noted head coach Travis Hudson. “I thought we came out very sharp in set one, and Tennessee certainly fought back like a great team would. Our blocking is what really helped us get to the finish line coming up with a couple of big ones late in the third set. It was an overall great team win.”

Western Kentucky 3, Tennessee 0 – 25-13, 25-21, 25-23
Starting up in a back and forth rally, Western Kentucky dug deep and took a 10-2 run to wager the an eight-point gap before a Lady Vol timeout. After regrouping, WKU pushed through another 4-0 run including a stuff block by Katie Isenbarger and Kenadee Coyle and a Paige Briggs service ace. Triple kills with two from senior Jennifer Rush and a kill on the right side of Kenadee Coyle wagered a near 10-point lead by the end of the set. Trading points on both sides finished out the frame, and the first set was given to WKU off the kill by Katie Isenbarger. The Hilltoppers hit for .419 and held the Lady Vols to an exact 0% over the net.

WKU struck first in the second and jumped into a 5-0 run against Tennessee that featured two kills from Katie Howard and Lauren Matthews, and a block displaying Matthews and Bauer at the net. Sharing the points, the Lady Vols later went three unanswered to garner the score closer to the Tops, before a kill off of Paige Briggs leveled the contest. Back-to-back kills from Kenadee Coyle got the Hilltoppers to 20 points first and Lauren Matthews killed the ball for the last two points of the frame.

An even-keel match up by the third, the Volunteers came hungry, biting with a 3-0 run before the Hilltoppers answered back with three of their own. The two teams traded before a five straight by the home team led coach Travis Hudson to call his only timeout of the match, with the Hilltoppers down by one. Another push from both sides and Tennessee gained a two-point lead over WKU, 20-18. Pushing through with UTK errors and a Lauren Matthews kill, the Tops eventually took control with three-straight to take the set at a .178 clip.

WKU stays home for the weekend hosting the WKU Volleyball Invitational inside Diddle Arena featuring, Tennessee Tech, Texas A&M, and Indiana. First match is scheduled against the Hilltoppers and Tennessee Tech, Friday at 11 a.m. CT.