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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – WKU junior Avri Davis came off the bench and would tally a career-high 14 kills to help the Hilltoppers to a four-set win at Charlotte. No. 17 WKU saw Matthews go off for 22 kills while Logan Kael racked up 20 digs for the Hilltopper defense. The Red and White worked at a .329 hitting clip while Nadia Dieudonne tallied 55 assists.
WKU is 65-2 across the 2021 calendar year and 78-4 across the last three seasons since the Hilltoppers six seniors have all been on The Hill. WKU improved to 23-1 on the season with Friday’s win along with an 11-0 mark in Conference USA.
Since joining Conference USA prior to the 2014 season, WKU Volleyball has won seven of eight possible regular season titles and six of seven possible tournament championships. Combined, the Hilltoppers has claimed 13 of 15 possible volleyball championships.
WKU at CHARLOTTE – 20-25, 25-19, 25-14, 25-15
WKU scored the opening point of Friday night’s match off a Kayland Jackson kill before the 49ers took a 4-2 lead. The Hilltoppers would battle to tie things back up at 6-6 before a 3-0 Charlotte run would give the hosts the lead for good. In total, the set would feature four ties and five lead changes. WKU was held to a .238 hitting percentage in the frame as the 49ers would take the opening set, 25-20.
A Lauren Matthews kill opened the scoring in set two before a solo block from the middle hitter knotted the score at 2-2. WKU worked ahead to an 8-5 lead, forcing a 49ers’ timeout before pushing ahead to 13-6. Charlotte took its final timeout trailing 17-9 and the Hilltoppers would lead as much as 19-10. UNCC would fight back within four at 22-18 before WKU evened the match at 1-1 with the 25-19 second-set victory.
Jackson opened third-set action with a kill before the Hilltoppers ran out to a 12-5 lead to force the 49ers’ first timeout. A 4-0 run later, WKU’s lead was out to 16-5 to force Charlotte’s final timeout. While the hosts again battled back, making their way into double digits, WKU ran away with the set, 25-14. The Hilltopper defense racked up a match-best 23 digs in the frame while holding Charlotte to a .083 rate.
Avri Davis continued her career night by opening set four with a kill. Kelsey Brangers would serve the Hilltoppers out to a 3-0 lead. WKU worked into double digits first, leading 10-7 and then 13-7 for a Charlotte timeout. The Tops’ lead grew to seven at 14-7 following a block assist from Katie Isenbarger and Davis. The 49ers battled back within four at 19-15 but a 6-0 run off Brangers’ serve would push WKU to a 25-15 decision.
Nadia Dieudonne dished out 55 assists while facilitating the Hilltopper offense to a .329 hitting clip. Dieudonne added nine digs, two aces, two blocks and four kills.
Briggs racked up 16 digs to go along with eight kills, two aces, a block and an assist on the night. Jackson also tallied eight kills, as well as three blocks.
Isenbarger and Matthews each recorded five blocks in the match. Isenbarger added six kills.
Defensively, two Tops worked into double digit digs as Logan Kael notched 20 and Briggs added 16. Hallie Shelton posted eight digs along with two aces.
WKU registered 71 digs to Charlotte’s 58 and held the 49ers to a .186 hitting clip, well below their season average.
The Hilltoppers will close their series at Charlotte on Sunday with an 11 a.m. CT first serve against the 49ers. It’ll also be the Senior Day for three Charlotte players.
- WKU used the lineup of Paige Briggs, Katie Howard, Lauren Matthews, Katie Isenbarger, Kayland Jackson, Nadia Dieudonne and Logan Kael at libero for the sixth-straight match. This is the fifth different starting lineup to hit the floor for WKU and the unit is 6-0.
- WKU leads all-time series against Charlotte, 17-3 with Friday’s four-set win.
- With the win, the Hilltoppers improve to 32-1 (11-0 C-USA) on the season.
- The Tops’ NCAA-best conference win streak is up to 44 with Friday’s victory, continuing to surpass the previous Conference USA record already held by WKU (38).
- Hallie Shelton struck for two more aces to bring her career total to 180, which ties her for second on the Tops’ all-time list.
- In Friday’s match, Matthews tallied 22 kills, the 10th 20-kill outing of her career as a Hilltopper and third of the season.
- With the day’s results, head coach Travis Hudson is now 688-217 across his career.
- WKU Volleyball is now up to an all-time program record of 966-492 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.