For the third-consecutive season, WKU Volleyball has been picked as the Conference USA preseason favorites while landing a trio of Lady Toppers on the Preseason All-Conference Team including Preseason Player of the Year Alyssa Cavanaugh. This marks the second-straight season a student-athlete from The Hill has received the individual honor after Jessica Lucas collected the accolade a year ago.
Head coach Travis Hudson’s squad collected 11-of-13 first place votes in the coaches poll while Rice and FIU received the remaining two. Rice finished second in the preseason poll while UTSA, Southern Miss and Marshall rounded out the top five teams. North Texas finished sixth in the voting followed by Florida Atlantic, UTEP, Middle Tennessee and FIU to round out the top 10. UAB, Louisiana Tech and Charlotte rounded out the poll.
Joining Cavanaugh on the preseason All-Conference list for the third time is Lucas. Rachel Anderson was also selected to the team, marking the third time in WKU’s four years in Conference USA that three players landed on the preseason All-Conference list. Additionally, all three earned AVCA All-Region honors last season while each picking up at least one All-America honor.
Last season, Cavanaugh became the first Lady Topper to earn All-America nods from all three organizations in a single year, putting her career total up to five accolades. The Louisville, Ky., native led the Red and White during 24-of-33 matches, including two career-high performances of 24 kills during the 2016 campaign. One of those career-best outings came during the Conference USA Tournament Championship.
Also producing career numbers to help the Lady Toppers to their third-straight C-USA Tournament title was Anderson, who tied the WKU program record with 31 kills in the five-set match with a .580 hitting clip. The Sturgis, Michigan, native finished the year with a .414 hitting percentage, which ranked second in Conference USA and 10th in the nation. She racked up 406 kills on the season for the fifth-most strikes in the league playing in every match in 2016.
Facilitating the second-best offense in the nation last season, Lucas was an integral piece of WKU’s success on the court. Lucas led Conference USA with 11.64 assists per set in 2016, a mark that ranked sixth across the nation as well. The Seymour, Indiana, native tallied 1,280 helpers during her junior campaign and achieved 4,000 career assists during WKU’s final match of the season.
WKU Volleyball is coming off its 15th-straight 25-win season in 2016 while stretching its 30-win season streak to three-consecutive campaigns with a 30-3 record. The Lady Toppers secured their sixth-straight regular-season conference championship with an unblemished 14-0 record in Conference USA action and remained perfect by winning the C-USA Tournament for the third-straight year as well. The tournament championship marked the Red and White’s 10th NCAA Tournament appearance since 2002 and the sixth appearance in the past seven seasons.
There will be two chances to catch the WKU Volleyball unit in action for free prior to the Aug. 29 home opener. In conjunction with the 2017 Football Fan Fest, the Lady Toppers will host a scrimmage in the auxiliary gym of Diddle Arena from 3-4 p.m. CT on Aug. 12. A week later, the squad will put on its inaugural Volleyball 101 and scrimmage. Action will open at 2 p.m. from the main court of Diddle Arena with an hour long scrimmage before splitting into the kids clinic and Volleyball 101 informational session at 3 p.m.
With the 2017 campaign just around the corner, volleyball season tickets are available online at WKUSports.com or by calling the WKU ticket office at 1-800-5-BIGRED. Season ticket holders will receive 12 general admission tickets with the Flexible Ticket Package that can be used to attend the home games of his or her choice. This plan allows the flexibility to choose which volleyball games the buyer wants to attend and the number of tickets used for each game. Season ticket holders also gain exclusive access to pre-game chalk talks with Hudson, who enters his 23rd season at the helm of WKU volleyball.
2017 C- USA Volleyball Preseason Team
*Alyssa Cavanaugh, WKU, Sr., OH
Jessica Lucas, WKU, Sr., S
Rachel Anderson, WKU, Jr., MH
Sarah Bell, Southern Miss, Jr., S
Catherine Repsher, Southern Miss, So., OH
Amanda Chamberlain, North Texas, Sr., MB
Holly Milam, North Texas, Sr., MB
Madison McDaniel, Rice, Sr., S
Portia Okafor, Rice, Sr., MB
Madison Hill, Marshall, So., MB
Jac’cara Walker, Marshall, So., OH
Marijeta Runjic, UTSA, Sr., OH
Abbi Reid, Florida Atlantic, Jr., RS
*Preseason Player of the Year
2017 C-USA Volleyball Preseason Poll
1. WKU (11)
2. Rice (1)
4. Southern Miss
6. North Texas
7. Florida Atlantic
9. Middle Tennessee
10. FIU (1)
12. Louisiana Tech
How to Follow the Lady Toppers: For complete information on WKU Volleyball, follow the team on Twitter at @WKUVolleyball and head coach Travis Hudson at @TravisHudsonWKU.
WKU Athletic Communications/Media Relations