WLU volleyball travels down the hill for MEC tournament

By Jalyn Bolyard, Online Editor
 
West Liberty University’s volleyball team will head down the hill to Wheeling Jesuit University’s McDonough Center today, Thursday, Nov. 8, to play in the Mountain East Conference Volleyball Tournament, starting play at 5 p.m.

The team wrapped up the regular season with a 23-9 record (11-5 MEC). This is the third straight 20-win season for the Lady Hilltoppers and Head Coach Kayla Mull.
 
The team finished the season with a share of second place in the MEC, along with Shepherd and Charleston. Wheeling Jesuit took first place for the sixth consecutive season and the first seed in the tournament, losing zero conference matches, and will host the MEC tournament. 
 
West Liberty is the fourth seed in the tournament after losing the tiebreaker between Shepherd (second seed) and Charleston (third). The Lady Hilltoppers will play against fifth seed West Virginia State at 5 p.m. 
 
If the Hilltoppers win, the team will play against the winner of the first seed Wheeling Jesuit and eighth seed Fairmont State match on Friday, Nov. 9, at 7:30 p.m. The championship match will take place on Saturday, Nov. 10.
 
Last year, West Liberty landed in the final championship match against Wheeling Jesuit. The Hilltoppers won the first set and the Cardinals won the second and third. The Hilltoppers rallied to force a fifth set, but was just a few points shy of the championship, with the Cardinals taking the fifth set, 15-12.  
 
This year, the volleyball team has had an incredible ranking season. The NCAA Division II Ranking Committee kept the Hilltoppers at No. 10 in the Atlantic Region for two weeks in a row. The final rankings came out yesterday, Nov. 7, and the Hilltoppers moved up to the No. 9 spot.
 
The team has had strong players throughout the 2018 season. Senior Raimey Benson sported 285 kills, 320 points and 62 blocks for the season. 
 
Senior twin sisters Amanda and Stephanie Leonard also helped with the team’s impressive season. Stephanie had 216 kills and 87 blocks. Amanda had 243 assists and 130 digs. 
 
Junior Olivia Baumhoer finished the season with 265 kills, 296 points and 56 blocks. Fellow junior Kailee Cunningham led the team in digs with 560 and service aces with 35. Cunningham also added 101 assists. 
 
After a remarkable regular season, the Hilltoppers are ready for post season play. If you can’t make it to the McDonough Center for the tournament action, live stats and updates will be available on MEC’s website under the 2018 MEC Volleyball Championship Central page
 
Photo Credit: Hilltoppersports.com