by Caleb Sweeney
Last week on RedZone Radio, Sam, Leroy, and I debated on the NCAA Volleyball Standings and the reasons why WKU is not in the Top 25 in the nation. The WKU Volleyball team is tearing up records and win streaks that C-USA and WKU have never witnessed before. They have won 19 straight games and 32 Conference USA games in a row. Currently they are sitting at 34 in the nation, when they should clearly be higher.
This team is legit, headed by Alyssa Cavanaugh and Jessica Lucas. They have the most sweeps in the nation. They have 22 straight sets won. They are putting up numbers this season that deserve to raise more eyebrows than what they are sitting at 34th in the nation. Although, while the stats are in their favor, their strength of schedule is not.
WKU started out the season 2-2 before picking up the pace and winning their next 19 games. Two consecutive losses to Louisville and Illinois (who are both in the latter half of the Top 25 teams in the country) set the team back. These games were must win games for the team, but they were only come out with 1 set from both these teams.
This whole scenario for WKU is like that of Gonzaga, a basketball powerhouse in the West Coast Conference. Gonzaga is ranked every year, but doesn’t play a strong schedule. Every now and again they will lose to a St. Mary’s or a BYU. Although the teams they lose to aren’t ranked, they somehow remain ranked after losing to an unranked team. This should be the same for WKU. WKU has won 3 straight Conference Tournaments and made appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
When it comes down to it, the volleyball team needed to win one of those games to be ranked. Even though they didn’t win those games, they were able to beat Ohio State and Pittsburgh. Both of these teams are in the fight for a top 25 position alongside Western. If Western is able to steamroll the conference like they have been, by the end of the season I am guarantee they’ll be ranked come tournament time.
This group of ladies is dangerous and fun to watch—if you haven’t seen them, check them out later this season or at the Conference USA Tournament held in E.A. Diddle Arena this fall.