Western Kentucky setter earns award

BOWLING GREEN, KY — ­­ Western Kentucky University volleyball setter Jessica Lucas of Seymour was honored with her first Conference USA Setter of the Year award Wednesday.

A two­-time All­-CUSA First-Team honoree, Lucas, a sophomore, was presented the award through helping guide Western Kentucky to a league-­leading .315 team hitting percentage in conference matches.

A three-time C­USA Setter of the Week honoree, Lucas finished second in the conference in both assists per set (11.06) and total assists (1,195).

“She’s just a really complete volleyball player,” head coach Travis Hudson said. “I think it speaks volumes of her setting ability that we are in the top-10 in the country in hitting, but she is much more than a setter; she’s a great defender as well and is really becoming a leader of our team.”

An all­-around performer for Western Kentucky, Lucas leads the Hilltoppers with 13 double­-doubles, including seven in conference play.

On the year, Lucas had a pair of 50-plus assist outings as the sophomore finished with 53 assists and 13 digs in Western Kentucky’s 3­1 victory against UTSA and totaled a career-high 56 assists and 11 digs in the Toppers’ five­ set victory against North Texas.

Defensively, Lucas ranked second on the team with a 2.45 digs-per-set average in conference matches.

On the heels of guiding Western Kentucky to the program’s sixth consecutive 27-plus win season and fifth-­straight regular-season conference championship, Hudson captured his sixth conference coach of the year award of his career.

Overall, the 2015 C­USA Championship is Hudson’s 12th regular-season title since 2000.

No. 21 Western Kentucky (28­3) enters this weekend’s Conference USA tournament in San Antonio as the top seed and is scheduled to begin action Friday with a 5 p.m. CT match with No. 8 Marshall in the UTSA Convocation Center.