BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – No. 22 WKU Volleyball swept its fifth-straight match with Friday night’s Conference USA-opening win over Marshall. With the win, the Hilltoppers now own 34-consecutive regular-season conference wins – the longest streak in the nation. WKU racked up eight aces while holding the Thundering Herd to a .112 hitting percentage.
Paige Briggs (15) and Katie Howard (career-high, 12) both worked into double-digit kills, each operating at a .429 rate or better. Nadia Dieudonne facilitated the Hilltopper offense to a collective .358 clip while dishing out 39 assists.
Lauren Matthews recorded four blocks – including three solo – while Briggs added a trio of blocks with two solo.
WKU vs. Marshall – 25-11, 25-16, 25-21
Marshall and WKU went back and forth early but a 7-0 Hilltopper run aided by a trio of aces forced the Herd to burn a timeout trailing 10-3. WKU continued to pour it on, jumping out to a 10 point lead after a Matthews block to make the score 13-3. Following a kill from Briggs, the Tops owned a 21-7 lead and would take the opening frame 25-11.
WKU racked up six aces in the opening set alone in addition to holding Marshall to a hitting percentage of -0.176 in the first frame. Briggs tallied up six kills as WKU operated at a .500 hitting percentage.
Picking up where they left off, the Hilltoppers jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the second set. A stifling block by Matthews pushed that advantage to a 6-1 margin. Marshall stuck around but WKU was the first to double digits again, forcing Marshall to burn a timeout while trailing, 10-5. The Herd answered with a 4-1 run out of the break. After trading points, WKU closed set two with a 4-0 run capped off by a kill from Matthews. Marshall improved their hit percentage in the second set but the Tops still held them to a clip of .121.
Third-set action opened with a 3-3 tie before WKU tallied its eighth ace of the match for a 7-3 lead. WKU took a 10-6 lead off a Thundering Herd error before Marshall responded with a 5-1 run tying things up at 11-11. The Herd added a pair of points forcing coach Hudson to use his first timeout of the match, Marshall leading 13-11. A Herd block gave Marshall a 16-13 lead and forced WKU’s final timeout. After trailing by as many as four points, a Kayland Jackson kill tied the score at 20-20. From there, a 3-0 Hilltopper run forced Marshall to call its final timeout with WKU leading 23-21. WKU would close the set and match with a 5-0 run off the steady serve of Hood. Down the stretch, Howard would strike for kills on the final four points of the match, all assisted by Dieudonne.
Friday, Sept. 24 – No. 22 WKU 3, Marshall 0
Saturday, Sept. 25 – No. 22 WKU vs. Marshall | 12 p.m. CT
WKU will conclude its homestand Saturday at noon with round two against the Thundering Herd. Any fan that shows their ticket to the WKU Football vs. Indiana game will receive free admission to the volleyball match. Volleyball fans should use Parking Structure 1 for Saturday’s match while entering through Gate 2 still.
Flexible season ticket packages are on sale now and include 13 vouchers that fans can use at any regular-season home match in whatever fashion they choose. Fans can opt for the traditional use of one ticket for all 13 home matches or bring a group to a few matches. Flexible ticket packages are available for $50 at WKUTickets.com, by calling 1-800-5-BIGRED or by coming to the WKU Ticket Office during regular business hours.
- WKU continued with the same lineup as Paige Briggs, Nadia Dieudonne, Lauren Matthews, Hallie Shelton, Kayland Jackson, Katie Howard and Kelsey Brangers (libero) earned starts on the day. The Tops’ new line was its third different look of the season and this combination is now 2-0.
- Paige Briggs led the Tops in kills with 15 while also picking up an ace, three blocks, and three digs hitting at a .525 clip.
- Katie Howard ended the day with 12 kills, setting a new career high. She also tallied three digs while hitting at a .429 clip.
- The Hilltoppers claimed their 12th-straight victory over the Herd with Friday’s win and now lead the all-time series 16-2.
- With the win, the Hilltoppers improve to 12-1 (1-0 C-USA) on the season and 10-0 in three-set matches.
- WKU’s conference win streak grew to 34-consecutive matches with Friday night’s sweep of the Herd.
- With the day’s results, head coach Travis Hudson is now 677-217 across his career.
- WKU Volleyball is now up to an all-time program record of 955-492 with Friday’s win.
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.