WKU took on No. 8 seed Georgia Tech in the second round of NCAA Tournament play on Saturday, falling to the Yellow Jackets 3-0. The match concluded the Hilltoppers’ season.
WKU had previously won 21 matches in a row. The loss concluded the program’s second season of play in the same calendar year.
“I don’t have many complaints, it was just time to go home,” head coach Travis Hudson said following Saturday’s match. “Georgia Tech was just better than us today.”
Six student-athletes, five fifth-year students and one senior, finished off their time as Hilltoppers on Saturday.
Fifth-year setter Nadia Dieudonne assisted 31 balls and had four digs in the match. Fifth-year defensive specialist Hallie Shelton had three digs and has appeared in 151 matches as a Hilltopper. Fifth-year right side Kayland Jackson hit eight kills and fifth-year defensive specialist Logan Kael had two assists and six digs. Fifth-year setter Taylor Bebout finished off her time as a Hilltopper on Saturday as well.
Senior defensive specialist Ashley Hood had an ace and nine digs in the match. Hood will be continuing in her nursing endeavors and will not take her fifth year of eligibility.
Hudson said that someone can truly know if they’ve made it as a coach when their players are in their darkest moments and can still feel joy and gratitude.
“If I never win another game, I know these women are going out into the world and they are going to spread [the] gratitude that they learned from this program,” Hudson said.
Set 1: GT 25, WKU 21
A kill by Matthews kicked off the second match of the NCAA Tournament for the Hilltoppers. An early 3-0 run including two kills by Davis pushed WKU up 5-1.
WKU was first to 10 points following a kill by senior middle hitter Katie Isenbarger. The Yellow Jackets knotted up the score 10-10 and were able to jump ahead for the first time in the set with a 5-0 run.
An ace by Georgia Tech’s Matti McKissock led to the first set point of the match. A block to a WKU ball ended the set 25-21.
Set 2: GT 25, WKU 18
A kill by Jackson and a block by both Isenbarger and Jackson began the second set. The beginning of the set stayed tight, but Georgia Tech was able to achieve a three-point 10-7 lead.
Georgia Tech reached a new lead 15-11 ahead of the first media timeout of the set. WKU called a timeout when Georgia Tech increased its lead to 21-17.
A block by the Yellow Jackets brought in set point while WKU was down by six. A block by Georgia Tech finished off the second set 25-18.
Set 3: GT 25, WKU 23
A kill by Matthews began the third set. Georgia Tech was able to catch an early 9-4 lead, which was followed by WKU’s first timeout of the frame.
WKU was trailing by seven points in the middle of the set but was able to shorten the Yellow Jackets’ lead to 22-21 following a kill by Matthews. Georgia Tech then called a timeout.
A block to an attempted kill by Matthews led to match point. WKU took a timeout while trailing by just three. Two Georgia Tech errors allowed WKU to close the gap to 24-23, but a kill by Yellow Jacket Julia Bergmann finished off the match 25-23.
“We’ll load it up to go to Bowling Green really proud of what we accomplished,” Hudson said.
Volleyball beat reporter Cassady Lamb can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @lambp0p.