By Chad Richards, Contributing Writer
If the last season for the West Liberty volleyball team was historic, then this season is “unprecedented.”
The Lady Toppers found themselves in the record books once again; they finished with an overall record of 23-14, 11-6 in conference. It was historic when the Lady Toppers broke even in conference play last season. Now, the team’s never looked better and it seems that there’s no stopping this team on the way up.
Coach Kayla Fetsko Mull’s Lady Toppers started their season on the road and posted a great start to the season. They played 10 away games before playing at home, with nine of those non-conference. They went 7-3 in those 10 games, with Wheeling Jesuit handing them their first conference loss. They came home to play four non-conference teams in a tournament. They struggled, posting a 1-3 record for those four games.
Then it was back on the road to play four more teams, two in conference and two non-conference. They were beaten by their in conference opponents, Notre Dame and Urbana, but managed to sweep their non-conference opponents.
They split two non-conference games at home, then went on the road to play UVa-Wise, who they managed to beat in a five-set thriller. One more non-conference team at home (that they beat), then it was on to play eight conference opponents through the month of October, with six coming at home and two on the road. At this point in the season, they had had some struggles at home and in conference. Their home record was 3-4 and their conference record was 1-3, so this slate of games gave the Lady Toppers a great chance to get to a better spot in their records.
They excelled in this quick slate of conference play, winning six games and posting a five-game winning streak. They moved to 7-6 at home and 5-5 in conference, marking a great month of conference play. They would play one more non-conference team and four more conference teams, winning three in conference and losing the lone non-conference match.
Then it was time for the Mountain East Conference tournament, where they managed to beat Urbana in five sets. Unfortunately, their run ended in the semifinals with Wheeling Jesuit sweeping them in three sets, putting an end to a truly historic season.
The Lady Toppers finished their season with a record of 23-14, with an 11-6 home record, 9-6 at home, 6-6 on the road, and 8-2 on neutral sites. The 23 wins are the most by a West Liberty volleyball team since the debut team’s back to back 26 wins in 1981 and 1982.
Coach Mull ranks third among all time West Liberty volleyball coaches with 75 wins. The entire history-making team will be back next fall except for Senior Miranda Garmenn. That means we can expect another history making season from the Lady Toppers next year.
Photo credit: hilltoppersports.com