Hilltoppers, Matthews Recognized in C-USA Volleyball Preseason Awards
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – After a 2019 season that saw WKU Volleyball continue to climb to new heights, the Conference USA coaches have picked the Hilltoppers to win the league’s East division this season. Lauren Matthews was selected as the Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year and was joined on the Preseason All-Conference team by teammates Paige Briggs and Nadia Dieudonne.
WKU’s trio of student-athletes recognized on the preseason team each earned First Team All-Conference USA nods last season, helping the Red and White to the league’s regular season and tournament championships.
Matthews returns for her junior campaign on The Hill after leading all of NCAA Volleyball in hitting percentage last season with a clip of .448. The Indianapolis, Ind., native racked up 470 kills last season in addition to 139 blocks. Matthews earned AVCA South Region Player of the Year honors before being named an AVCA Honorable Mention All-American in 2019.
Briggs, C-USA’s Freshman of the Year a season ago, earned a spot on the preseason team following a stellar debut season as a six-rotation player for the Hilltoppers. Last season, the Ortonville, Mich., native deposited 388 kills to go along with 344 digs, 40 blocks and 27 aces.
Prior to her 2019 campaign on The Hill, Dieudonne had not earned a collegiate postseason laurel. After bringing home AVCA All-Region, C-USA Setter of the Year and First Team All-Conference nods, the Louisville, Ky., native can now add Preseason All-Conference Team to her list as well. Dieudonne led the squad to a collective .301 hitting percentage on the 2019 season, which ranked second in all of NCAA. She registered 1,296 assists along with 270 digs, 95 kills and 41 block assists – all of which are career highs for the junior.
While team divisions have never been used in Conference USA Volleyball, they’ve been utilized for softball and football in years prior in addition to being added for other sports this year. Travis Hudson’s crew was predicted to win its division this spring while Rice beat out North Texas in the Coaches Poll for the top spot in the West division.