By Daniel Morgan, Contributing Writer
The Lady Hilltoppers will travel downstate this weekend in hopes of adding two more victories to their 2018 season.
The Lady Toppers are off to an impressive start to the season and with a 17-5 overall record and a 6-1 record in conference as of Oct. 11.
Both Mountain East Conference competitors, West Liberty University will play the Golden Eagles at the University of Charleston on Friday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. and the West Virginia State University Yellow Jackets in Institute, W.Va. on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 5 p.m.
West Liberty defeated both teams during the 2017 regular season, however, sophomore setter Kendall Souder made it clear that a past score has no affect on current gameplay.
“This year, our team focus has been to ‘Play West Lib volleyball,’ which reminds us to play to our own highest standard no matter who is on the opposing side of the court,” Souder said. “Also, one of our team goals is not to take any team for granted. We have to respect every team we play no matter their previous record. Anyone can come out and beat anyone on any given day, that’s why we play the game. So, the key to success this weekend will be to play West Lib volleyball by focusing on our decision-making and execution on the court.”
In 2017, the Hilltoppers pulled out a 3-1 win against Charleston’s Golden Eagles, where Caitlin Clarke stood out with 13 kills, 16 digs, two blocks and a service ace. Other current Hilltoppers Raimey Benson (who recently passed 1,000 career kills) had 10 kills and four blocks; Stephanie Leonard had 8 kills and five blocks; Amanda Leonard had 24 assists and nine digs; Souder had 21 assists and nine digs; and Kailee Cunningham had 16 digs and two service aces.
The Hilltoppers then swept West Virginia State 3-0 the next day during the Hilltoppers’ Senior Day. Stephanie Leonard had the most kills of the evening at nine, with Benson stacking on another eight. Souder had 13 assists, Amanda Leonard had 11 assists and Cunningham led the team with 14 digs with Mackenzie Sims right behind her with eight.
“I think that as long as we can control our side and play our game, it won’t matter who’s on the other side of the net, we will find a way to win,” said Benson, senior right side/outside hitter.
Photo Credit: Daniel Morgan