Western Kentucky closed out tournament play with a 3-1 (19-25, 26-24, 25-12, 25-23) victory over Indiana in the WKU Volleyball Invitational on Saturday at E.A. Diddle Arena.
WKU senior Paige Briggs led the way for the Hilltoppers with 20 kills and eight digs for 21.5 points.
The Hilltoppers were one block assist shy of tying the season high, finishing the day with 16. WKU held IU to a .185 hitting percentage for the match and forced the Hoosiers to commit 27 errors.
The Hoosiers got the scoring started Saturday, but a serving error put WKU on the board. The Hoosiers were first to reach 10 points after a 9-3 run. WKU burned a timeout after an Indiana ace stretched the lead to seven. Lauren Matthews dumped one over the net to pull the Tops within four and a 3-0 WKU run forced the Hoosiers to call timeout, as the Hilltoppers were inching up.
Katie Isenbarger had a block and a kill in the stretch, but Indiana responded with a 4-0 run to take a 22-17 lead. The Big Ten team wrapped up the first frame with a 3-1 stretch.
Indiana grabbed the first two points of the second set, but WKU responded with two of its own. A Callie Bauer ace brought the Tops within one. Bloomington, Ind., native Kenadee Coyle fired a kill cross court to stop a Hoosier run, trailing by four. Briggs notched a kill in between the hands of a Hoosier to later cut the deficit to one. Briggs then added two more kills to tie the set at 17.
Indiana used a 3-0 run to take a 21-18 lead, but Coyle placed one over the net to cut the deficit. The Hilltoppers added two more and the set was tied again, this time at 21. Jennifer Rush dropped one into no-man’s land to give the Tops a 24-23 lead. Matthews closed the set out with a kill just inside the back line.
WKU struck first in set three with an Isenbarger kill. Indiana tied things up at three, but the Tops responded with three in a row including back-to-back kills from Briggs to take a 6-3 advantage. Two more and the Hoosiers were forced to call time with WKU with a solid lead. Katie Howard served up an ace and WKU was up nine, 12-3.
In the 9-0 run Briggs had four kills and Matthews with three, and the service ace for Howard. After an IU timeout, the Hilltoppers went on a 5-0 run to take a 19-5 lead while hitting at a .667 clip. The Tops finished off the frame with a commanding block from Briggs and Isenbarger. In the set, the Tops had 14 kills and no errors off of 21 attacks for a .667 hitting clip, adding three blocks.
Indiana was first to the scoring column in set four and took a quick 4-1 lead with the Tops’ lone point coming from a Matthews kill. Coyle floated one over the net to bring WKU within one, trailing 8-7.
Out of a Hilltopper timeout, Matthews stuffed a block to bring WKU within four. A 3-0 WKU run forced the Hoosiers to call time, as the Hilltoppers were down 16-13. Indiana responded with three of its own to take the edge, not before Rush notched a kill to pull WKU within two 21-19. The Hilltoppers tied the set at 23 and again when Isenbarger dropped one down to give WKU, set point. Isenbarger shut the door on the Hoosiers with another block to give WKU another Big Ten victory.
The Hilltoppers (12-2) open Conference USA action on the road against UAB on Friday at 7 p.m. CT, followed by a match in Murfreesboro, Tenn., against Middle Tennessee on Sept. 24. First serve is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT.