The Bucs wrapped up WKU Tournament play this past weekend as they competed against the No. 22 Washington State Cougars. The tournament was held in Bowling Green, Kentucky, at Western Kentucky University.
The Bucs were able to pull out an amazing performance, giving the Cougars their first loss of the season (25-23, 25-17,25-22, 25-18,18-15). The Bucs also played against Western Kentucky (falling 25-18, 34-32, 25-15) and finished with a sweep of Northern Illinois (25-18, 34-32, 25-15). The Bucs would finish the weekend with a record of 2-1.
The first set against Washington State was a tight contest, with numerous lead changes. The Bucs were able to get a four-point advantage midway through. The strongest lead in the first set saw the Bucs up by nine points. The Cougars would attempt a comeback coming close at 23 to 24, until junior Leah Clayton (Danville, Virginia) assisted on a kill from senior Alyssa Kvarta (Crown Point, Indiana) to give the Bucs the first win.
The Cougars would even things up in the next set. The match was close in the opening minutes of play, with several lead changes and ties. The Cougars were able to capitalize on the victory when they had a six-point advantage against the Bucs. The Cougars would take the errors as points as they won the second set, winning by eight points.
With each team holding onto a one set win, they were eager to break the tie. The Bucs came out with a ton of momentum in the beginning as senior AJ Lux (Shelbyville, Indiana) had two kills with assistance from Kvarta, to grab the lead at 4-3.
The Bucs would hold on to the lead for the most part being up by at least 3 to 4 points. The Cougars would take the lead at 20-19 with an attack error by Clayton. The score would tie at 22, until a kill by Lux from sophomore Marija Popovic (Belgrade, Serbia) gave the Bucs a one-point lead. The Bucs would win the set with two errors by the Cougars.
The Cougars were able to win the next set and send it to a final game with a dominant performance beating the Bucs by seven points. The final set saw the Cougars grab an early lead at 4-1, but the Bucs weren’t going to give up yet. The Bucs were able to tie at 4, and then it would go back and forth until the final moments of the game. The final kill came from senior Braedyn Tutton (Courtice, Ontario, Canada) from Kvarta to give the Bucs the win at 3-2.
Clayton had a great day with 25 kills and 8 digs, while junior Kaela Massey (Brentwood, Tennessee) had 10 kills and 7 digs. The Bucs record stands at 11-3 with a two-game winning streak. The Bucs start Southern Conference play this week with confidence as they take on Western Carolina.