TOLEDO, Ohio -- Four Lady Toppers registered double-digit kills as WKU Volleyball claimed a five-set decision over Loyola to open the 2019 season Friday night in Toledo. Both Paige Briggs and Nadia Dieudonne recorded double doubles in their WKU debuts while Katie Isenbarger added one as well. WKU out-hit the Ramblers by more than .100 while out-digging LU as well.
"Well, that was a good old-fashioned early season struggle," head coach Travis Hudson opened. "We did not play very well in a lot of facets of the game today, but found a way to win. I thought we finally found a rhythm in that fifth set so hopefully that carries over to tomorrow."
Freshman Briggs led WKU in kills with 18 in her collegiate debut to go along with 11 digs. Lauren Matthews (15), Sophia Cerino (12) and Katie Isenbarger (10) all finished in double digits in the category. The last time WKU had four attackers with double-digit kills was Nov. 8, 2018 at UAB.
WKU hit .296 on the match while holding Loyola to a .193 mark. Defensively, Dieudonne led WKU with 20 digs to go along with her 54 assists. She is the first Lady Topper since Jessica Lucas to record a 20-20 double double. Lucas achieved the feat on Sept. 16, 2016. Dieudonne is the 36th Lady Topper to ever achieve the feat and the very first to do so in the month of August.
Isenbarger notched her first-career double double with 10 kills and 10 digs in the five-set contest while leading WKU with a .348 offensive clip. She also led the Tops with three blocks.
Junior-transfer Logan Kael finished her first match as a Lady Topper with 18 digs to go along with two aces. Emma Kowalkowski added 16 digs.
Cerino led the Red and White with three service aces in the match. She also added seven digs in the match -- a career high for the senior.
The Lady Toppers led the Ramblers in most additional categories including kills (65-59), blocks (5-3), assists (60-57) and digs (90-76).
WKU Volleyball claimed its first set of action in the 2019 season with a 25-23 victory over Loyola from Savage Arena Friday night. The Lady Topper offense operated at a .242 rate in the frame while holding the Ramblers to a -.050 mark.
Loyola pulled back in set two to even the match with a 25-22 win over the Red and White heading into the long break.
Out of the break, the sides battled back and forth but WKU would ultimately claim the frame in a 26-24 decision for a 2-1 lead in the match.
After a slow start in the fourth set that saw WKU trail 6-0 early, the Lady Toppers pulled all the way back but Loyola would ultimately force a decisive fifth set after a 25-22 win.
In the fifth set, a Paige Briggs kill pushed WKU ahead 5-3 to force a Loyola timeout. The sides would trade the next four points before the Red and White would open up an 8-5 lead and force another timeout. WKU would be the first to double digits at 10-6 before the Ramblers would pull within two on a couple occasions.