Matthews Marks 500th Career Block; Hilltoppers Sweep LA Tech

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The Hilltopper Volleyball team continued their homestand on Saturday evening as they played host to the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters. The 2022 WKU Homecoming theme was “Nightmare on Normal Street” and the Tops in many ways caused a nightmare for the Lady Techsters sweeping LA Tech 3-0 while holding them to a hitting clip of -.035 on the night.

Two Hilltoppers picked up double-digit kills on Saturday with Paige Briggs leading the charge with 12 followed by Lauren Matthews who had 11. Contrary to much of conference play, the Tops only managed two aces, but defense was key as WKU held LA Tech to a negative hitting percentage, while forcing the Lady Techsters into 23 attacking errors.

The Hilltoppers managed 10 blocks on the night and when asked about the team’s efforts on the defensive front, Travis Hudson said “We blocked really well. Kenadee blocked really well, Katie Isenbarger blocked really well, and when you block a few balls and force kids to try to take swings that aren’t really there and then they end up hitting a few balls out of bounds.”

Right at the top of the match, fifth year Lauren Matthews stuffed her 500th career kill as a Hilltopper. She not only holds the school record for blocks but is now the only member of the 500-blocks club. Travis Hudson once again had high praise for the fifth-year “It speaks to her as a competitor and it shows someone that’s always willing to get better. There are a lot of really elite offensive players in every sport that aren’t that interested in the defensive side of the ball, but the truly great ones try to impact the game on both sides and she certainly does that.”

WKU 3, LA Tech 0- 25-13, 25-12, 25-14

SET 1

After a quick LA Tech kill, a pair of errors allowed the Hilltoppers to take a 2-1 lead. Katie Isenbarger picked up the first solo block of the match to give WKU a three-point margin. After a service error, the Tops rolled off three in a row forcing the Lady Techsters to call time, leading 9-4. Out of the break LA Tech grabbed a kill, but another 3-0 Hilltopper run gave WKU its largest lead of the frame, 12-5. In an effort to save a point, the Lady Techsters hit an overpass close to the net, which Lauren Matthews slammed into the floor for her second kill of the match forcing the opponent to burn their final timeout. Following an LA Tech point, Callie Bauer methodically dumped one into no-man’s land to give the Tops a 19-11 lead. A successful Lady Techster challenge cut the margin to eight, but Katie Isengbarger quickly got the point back, firing a kill down across court. Katie Isenbarger later finished off the Lady Techsters in set one notching her third kill of the frame.

SET 2

A Lauren Matthews kill started the scoring in the second set followed by a pair of LA Tech attack errors giving the Tops a quick 3-0 edge. The Hilltoppers continued taking three of the next four, forcing a LA Tech timeout, and leading 6-1. Out of the break, Lauren Matthews picked her second stuff block of the night, two kills followed that for a 9-1 WKU lead, while hitting at a .500 clip for the set. The Lady Techsters then took three of the next four to cut the Hilltopper lead to six, 11-5. WKU responded, stretching the lead back out to nine. The two traded off serves before Paige Briggs notched her sixth kill of the match to give WKU an 18-8 advantage. An errant Lady Techster serve put the Tops on the verge of taking set two leading 24-11. LA Tech briefly stopped the momentum, but a kill from Katie Howard closed out the second frame.

SET 3

Similar to the ending of set two, Katie Howard started the third set with a kill. LA Tech answered one back. After an unusual rally, Paige Briggs 10th kill of the night later gave WKU a 6-3 lead. The Lady Techsters cut the lead to one following an ace, but not before Lauren Matthews recorded a kill bringing the lead back to two in WKU’s favor. Katie Isenbarger grabbed her third block of the match as the Tops were first to break 10, leading 10-8. A 3-0 Hilltopper run capped by an ace from Isenbarger forced a Lady Techster timeout. Lauren Matthews later notched her 10th kill of the match to give WKU a 17-10 advantage. A kill from Katie Isenbarger gave the Tops an eight-point edge, leading 21-13 forcing LA Tech to burn their final timeout of the match. Back-to-back blocks put the Lady Techsters on thin ice and the Tops finished off LA Tech after a an attacking error, taking the third set.

UP NEXT

WKU will travel to Boca Raton, Florida to take on FAU on Friday, November 4. The Hilltoppers will then head slightly south to Miami for a rematch with FIU on the following Sunday.

POST-MATCH NOTES 

  • WKU used the lineup of Paige Briggs, Katie Howard, Lauren Matthews, Katie Isenbarger, Kenadee Coyle, Callie Bauer, and Abby Schaefer. This is the 24th time this season Coach Hudson has used this combination.
  • In the series, WKU now stands at 15-7 against the Lady Techsters, haven taken the last nine matches.
  • Picking up four blocks in the match-up, Lauren Matthews collected career block number 500 in today’s win over Louisiana Tech. Matthews stands alone atop the ranks off Hilltopper volleyball career blocks and now joins the elite 500-block club.
  • Leading the offensive attack, Paige Briggs tallied 12 kills off of 28 attempts. Fifth Year Lauren Matthews collected 11 kills operating at a .364 hitting clip.
  • Leading the Tops on the reception end, libero Abby Schaefer picked up 23 to go along with a team best eight digs.
  • The Hilltoppers now stand at 23-2 and undefeated in C-USA play (11-0).
  • Head coach Travis Hudson is now 716-220 across his career on the Hill.
  • WKU Volleyball is now up to an all-time program record of 994-494.

How to Follow WKU Volleyball: For complete information on WKU Volleyball, follow the team on Twitter at @WKUVolleyball and head coach Travis Hudson at @TravisHudsonWKU. The team is also on Instagram and Facebook.