WKU Volleyball Invitational Renamed to Alyssa Cavanaugh Classic

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU Athletics and WKU Volleyball is proud to announce the renaming of the annual WKU Volleyball Invitational to the Alyssa Cavanaugh Classic. This season’s two-day tournament will take place September 15-16 inside Diddle Arena.

Fans are encouraged to wear orange all weekend in support of leukemia cancer. Friday night’s 6pm match with East Tennessee with feature a replica No. 7 Alyssa jersey towel along with an orange ribbon for the first 500 fans.
Cavanaugh wore the Red and White from 2014-17, earning four AVCA All-America honors, including the first team nomination for the Tops. She was also the 2017 AVCA South Region Player of the Year, the only non-Power Five student-athlete to receive the Region Award.Cavanaugh’s extensive list of accolades includes Conference USA’s Michael L. Slive Female Athlete of the Year (2017-18), four-time CUSA first team All-Conference, two-time CUSA Player of the Year (2016 & 2017), first WKU player to earn three All-America honors in a single season (2016: AVCA, VolleyballMag.com, PrepVolleyball.com), and CUSA Freshman of the Year (2014). She ranks third in WKU Volleyball history with 1,816 career kills and fourth all-time with 3.78 kills per set across her career. In total, she played in 139 matches as a Hilltopper and appeared in 481 sets.

She racked up 123 wins against just 17 losses – playing in every match but one across four years – and was a part of the program’s first class to appear in the NCAA Tournament every year of their career. Cavanaugh, a 5-foot-10 outside hitter from Louisville, Ky., graduated from WKU in May 2018 with a degree in recreation administration. She was a regular on the WKU Dean’s List and CUSA Commissioner’s Honor Roll for her work in the classroom.

Following her graduation from WKU, Cavanaugh traveled overseas and competed in a professional tryout before being diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on Sept. 5, 2018. She received a successful bone marrow transplant from her father, Eric, on Feb. 19, 2019. After complications from treatment, Alyssa passed away on Dec. 25, 2020.

In 2021, CUSA announced the renaming of volleyball’s conference player of year award – to the Alyssa Cavanaugh Player of the Year.