WLU Volleyball splits final two matches before MEC Tournament

On Tuesday night, the Lady Toppers swept the Fairmont State Falcons to hit their sixth win in a row and place them second in the MEC North Division. Then on Friday night, West Liberty received another loss to the MEC North Division first place team, Wheeling University.

In the ASRC on Tuesday night, West Liberty commanded the win with a 3-0 score of 25-19, 25-18, 25-21 against the Falcons. The Hilltoppers had a great night at the net with a .200 team hitting average compared to Fairmont’s .080 on the evening. West Liberty also had 10 blocks and eight aces as a team compared to Fairmont’s five and five.

Outside, Riley Cudnik led the team in kills with 11 and was followed by middle Madison Clayton with nine and outside Katelynn Fritz with six. Setters,, Kirsten Bogunovich and Haley Zeck, accumulated 23 and nine assists respectively. Defensively, libero Nyia Setla led the team with 20 digs and Fritz followed with 10.

Head coach Riley Schenk attributes this success to a prepared team. She said, “we played very, very well as a team. We executed our game plan against Fairmont and we were ready to go.”

On Friday night, however, West Liberty’s winning streak was snapped by rival school, Wheeling University. The Lady Toppers came out strong in the first set, winning 26-24. But Wheeling flipped the script by taking the next three sets 25-16, 25-20, and 25-23, despite West Liberty leading for most of that fourth set.

Schenk said, “Wheeling played better than us in sets two and three. The fourth [set] we should have had that one. We were up 18-13. They went on a run and we couldn’t capitalize to finish. [We] made too many unforced mental errors on our side. We played at a high level, but they came out when it mattered.”

Clayton dominated the net, getting nine blocks and 15 kills with a .448 hitting percentage. Bogunovich followed with 13 kills and six blocks as well as setting for 35 assists. Outsides, Fritz and Cudnik, also worked the net, picking up 11 and 10 kills respectively. Zeck followed Bogunovich with 17 assists while Setla, Fritz, and Laura Gamel collected 32, 15, and 13 digs respectively. Despite the outcome, Schenk is confident in her team for the MEC tournament.

Fritz said, “We are so excited for tournament play. For the tournament, we are focusing on one game at a time and taking it day by day.” Clayton adds that the team will be focusing on what they can control and working as a team as well.

When asked what stands out about this season, Schenk addressed her team’s growth. She said, “You look at some other programs, and they are the same as the beginning of the year. We have gotten better with every single match as a team, which matters most.” Fritz added, “throughout the regular season our team has improved so much. We are all so proud of each other and of our team as a whole.”

The Hilltoppers will begin tournament play at West Virginia State University on Thursday, Nov. 18 at noon against Davis and Elkins College. The team is looking forward to the match up, Clayton said, “we still have a lot to prove. We aren’t ready to be done just yet.”