By Cody Shook, Sports Editor
The red hot Hilltoppers played in the MEC/PSAC Crossover tournament this past weekend and went 2-2 with wins against Pitt-Johnstown and Slippery Rock. Last season, the Hilltoppers began conference play with an 8-6 record and finished with an overall record of 20-14. With this hot start, they will look to keep the momentum going as they face off against two teams that also played in the 2017 conference tournament.
Fairmont State University will come to the hilltop to take on the Hilltoppers on Friday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m., and the Falcons are off to a slow start with a 4-6 record. This will be opening weekend for the entire Mountain East Conference as none of the teams have faced off against each other yet.
Last season, the Hilltoppers struggled with the Falcons as they dropped both of their regular season match-ups. The Falcons finished the 2017 season with a 21-11 overall record and 11-5 record in conference games. Fairmont ended up losing the first game of the conference tournament despite having the No. 4 seed.
On Saturday, Sept. 15, the Shepherd University Rams will travel to the hilltop for the second conference game of the year. The game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m., and the Rams are off to a hot start of their own to begin the season. The Rams are currently 8-2 and on a three game winning streak.
Last season, the Hilltoppers and Rams split their regular season match-ups with both teams winning the road game. In their third meeting of the season, they battled it out in the conference tournament and the Hilltoppers won in three sets. Shepherd was the No. 3 seed going into the tournament, but they were bounced in the first round.
Earlier this season, Kayla Mull, the Hilltoppers’ head coach, recorded her 100th career win and she is showing no signs of stopping anytime soon. She led her team to the championship game of the conference tournament last season and this year the focus is winning the whole thing.
Junior Kailee Cunningham is leading the team in total digs, which is something she has done every year she has been on the Hilltop. She currently has 218 digs and last season she finished with 659. Through the first 12 games, she is on pace to have another incredible season.
Up front, Stephanie Leonard andy Madison Clayton lead the team with 31 blocks. This season, the Hilltoppers are led by four seniors and six juniors, which leads to a lot of experience because they have been through down years and their biggest year coming just a year ago.
After this weekend’s games, the Lady Toppers will travel to take on Notre Dame College and Urbana University on Tuesday and Friday.
The Hilltoppers will play on Friday against the Fairmont State University Falcons at 7 p.m. and the Shepherd University Rams on Saturday at 1 p.m. Be sure to check out a volleyball game here on the campus of West Liberty University. The team only has seven more home games after this weekend.
Photo Credit: Hilltoppersports.com