WKU’s Matthews and Hudson claim the highest C-USA awards | WKU Sport – To the world

Seven different hilltopers were honored on the Western Kentucky volleyball team Thursday when Conference USA announced its conference-only teams, beginners-only team, and other awards.

Lauren Matthews from WKU was the first player to receive the Alyssa Cavanaugh Player of the Year Award – renamed Hilltopper Legend in June 2021 – and was also named C-USA Defensive Player of the Year. WKU head coach Travis Hudson was named C-USA coach of the year.

Matthews, Paige Briggs and Nadia Dieudonne have been recognized by all first team conferences for the third year in a row. Katie Isenbarger and Kayland Jackson both ended up on the second team, which was conference-only teams, while Katie Howard received the All-Newcomer Team Honors.

Matthews becomes the first player in C-USA history to be named Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. She was also the league’s player of the year after the 2019 season.

The NCAA percentage leader, Matthews, has worked with an efficiency of .490 this season, while this season he’s got 367 kills and 106 total blocks, averaging 4.53 and 1.31 per set, respectively. The native Indianapoliser started all 81 sets for the Hilltoppers in the middle of this season. She received four of the league’s Offensive Player of the Week awards and a Defensive Player of the Week award, marking the only female player in C-USA to have achieved this feat this season. Matthews has had double-digit kills in 23 games this season and scored 20 or more in four games.

Hudson’s recognition marks his fourth Conference USA Coach of the Year award in WKU’s eight seasons as a member of the League. He also received the honor in 2015, ’16 and ’19. During the Sun Belt era, Hudson garnered five more Coach of the Year awards, bringing his total to nine.

As a fifth-year setter, Dieudonne now has three straight top-team awards of all conferences after easing the country’s second-best offensive to a hit rate of 0.342. The six-rotation setter started all 81 sets this season, averaging 11.22 assists per set, leading C-USA and finishing seventh in NCAA volleyball. Dieudonne have accumulated 909 assists, despite the Hilltoppers having played 19 out of 25 games this season. She has added 1.79 digs per set, 36 blocks, and 15 aces this season. Dieudonne was honored as 7 of 11 Setters of the Week this season, bringing their total number to 18 in three seasons as Hilltopper.

Briggs also garners her third consecutive honor, scoring .279 a year with 240 kills (2.96 per set) and 227 digs (2.80 per set). She also added 30 blocks and 28 aces. Briggs scored six doubles in 25 games. A key passer for the Hilltoppers, a native of Ortonville, Michigan, recorded just 18 errors out of 353 attempts at a receive rate of 94.9 that season. The underdog with six rotations was named Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week once and this season achieved 11 double-digit kill-outings and 10 double-digit excavation attempts.

Isenbarger was named the second Team All Conference for the second time in a row. She appeared in 80 out of 81 sets that season while operating at a hit rate of 0.375 and an average of 1.03 blocks per set. Isenbarger, a native of Zionsville, Ind., Has 130 kills this season with 1.63 kills per set and 82 total blocks. From the service line, the senior middle hitter hit 10 aces and recorded 35 digs. She tallied 11 matches with a hitting clip of .400 or better to kick off the postseason.

For the first time in her career, Jackson received all conference awards and second team recognition for her efforts during the 2021 campaign. The fifth-year right-sided batsman played 80 of 81 sets that season, scoring a .357 batting average to go with 51 blocks (.64 per set). She recorded multiple blocks in 16 matches while racking 182 kills and operating eleven times at a rate of .400 or better.

A true freshman who made the Hilltoppers’ starting line-up 16 times, Howard became the WKU’s first all-freshman team honoree since Briggs in 2019. The native bowling green performed in 50 sets and scored 78 kills with an average of 1.56 kills per set this season. With a total of 0.251 points, the Outside Hitter also added 19 digs and 15 blocks for 88 points in their debut campaign. {&End}



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