Western Kentucky volleyball players Paige Briggs and Lauren Matthews have been recognized by Conference USA as the Freshman of the Week and Co-Offensive Player of the Week, respectively, the league office announced Monday afternoon.
The tandem helped the Lady Toppers to a 4-0 week against Eastern Kentucky and a stout Holiday Inn – University Plaza Invite field.
Briggs collects her second Freshman of the Week honor from the conference in three weeks at WKU. Briggs racked up 39 kills across WKU’s 13 sets of action to go along with 54 digs to lead the Lady Toppers over the four-match span. Briggs added three more double-double performances to bring her season total up to six.
The Ortonville, Mich., native averaged 3.00 kills per set and 4.15 digs per set to lead WKU in digs. Led by a 19-dig showing against Tulane, Briggs registered three outings with at least 14 digs across the week while hitting double digits three times in kills as well.
Earning her first weekly award of the 2019 campaign with the Co-Offensive Player of the Week honor, Matthews now owns two C-USA weekly honors after earning the league’s Freshman of the Week award last season.
Matthews opened the week with one of the biggest outings of her career – recording an .800 hitting percentage with 12 kills on 15 errorless swings in WKU’s home-opening sweep of Eastern Kentucky. Her single-match hitting clip tied for fourth-best on the program’s all-time list.
Matthews stayed hot through the weekend, adding three more outings with at least 12 kills to help WKU to its second weekend tournament crown of the season.
She racked up 53 kills and 18 blocks across the week while averaging 4.08 kills per set, 1.38 blocks per set and 5.00 points per set to go along with her .402 hitting percentage. Matthews led WKU in kills all four matches, including 15 in the Lady Toppers’ sweep of Ohio State for the squad’s second Power Five win of the season. The Indianapolis native ripped through the Buckeye defense, working at a .414 offensive clip while adding a trio of blocks as well. She closed the weekend by racking up 14 kills over Tulane, a squad that entered the weekend ranked 13th in the nation in opponent hitting percentage, with Matthews hitting more than .100 points better than that average. She added a season-high eight blocks in the four-set victory over the Green Wave.
WKU’s trio of weekend opponents – Bowling Green (116), Ohio State (93) and Tulane (52) – all ranked within the top-125 of the most recent NCAA RPI. BGSU and Tulane both competed in the 2018 NIVC with the Green Wave advancing all the way to the championship match. Bowling Green is also the two-time defending Mid-American Conference regular-season champion.
Through three weeks of weekly awards, WKU has collected five accolades with four different players earning recognition.
The Lady Toppers are in action Tuesday with a match at Belmont on the slate. First serve against the Bruins is slated for 5 p.m. CT, from the Curb Event Center in Nashville.