WKU volleyball opens tournament play against Iowa State in Illinois


The Lady Toppers surpassed expectations set by – well, everyone really – by not only dropping just a single conference match, clinching the co-championship of the regular season and winning their first attempt at a Conference USA tournament, but did so with a young roster, that’s only going to get better.

If any part of this season has been a test for the young squad, then they haven’t seen anything yet, as they’ll open play in the NCAA Tournament against Iowa State. The match will be hosted by Illinois.

We, regrettably, didn’t give the ladies the coverage they deserved during the conference tournament, but they swept through the first and second rounds, with wins over former Sun Belt pals Florida Atlantic and North Texas, and won a five set thriller over Rice, who knocked off UTSA (the other regular season champ) in the semifinals.

Iowa State’s record isn’t one to fear, necessarily, but they did finish second in the Big 12, behind only the Texas Longhorns who by the way are the second overall seed in the tournament. The Cyclones finished the season with an 18-9, 10-6 record and finished the campaign winning six of their last seven matches. They’re also making an appearance in their ninth consecutive tournament, one of only nine schools who can make that claim.

The Cyclones bring with them a ton of honored talent – libero Caitlin Nolan was named the Big 12’s Libero of the Year as well as an addition to the All-Big 12 First Team, where she was joined by Victoria Hurtt and Alexis Conaway nearly made the mark, being named an honorable mention.

In speaking in the game notes, head coach of WKU Travis Hudson sees a lot of the Tops in the Cyclones, and if the two teams are as even as he says, this could go the full five once again.

"They are a lot like us in a lot of ways—they are really balanced, and they are really physical. I think if we put them in bad situations, then we could be in it. This time of year that’s all you can ask for is a chance, and I think we match up really well.WKU head volleyball coach Travis Hudson on the matchup with Iowa State"

Today will mark the first ever WKU/Iowa State volleyball meeting, but the Lady Tops come in with an all time record of 3-9 against current members of the Big 12 conference. WKU isn’t coming into the game unnoticed. Alyssa Cavanaugh was named the C-USA Freshman of the Year (because, really, who else would even be deserving of a mention) while Heather Boyan and Jessica Lucas – along with Cavanaugh – were named All-Tournament, with Boyan being named MVP.

The Lady Tops are the only team on their half of the bracket to reach 30 wins, and if coach Hudson likes the matchup today, then by golly I love the matchup today. A win today will make for a meeting between the winner of Illinois – the #9 national seed – or Murray State (wouldn’t that be fun?). Oh, and how could we have gone this long without mentioning – WKU is currently the #25 team in the nation. Oh yeah.

First serve is at 4:30, and live video can be seen here. Good luck to the ladies, and GO TOPS!