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Tech bests Morehead State in 3-2 thriller in Cookeville

Tech bests Morehead State in 3-2 thriller in Cookeville

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – It was a thriller from beginning to end at the Tech Beach Courts Friday afternoon and evening, as the Tennessee Tech beach volleyball team turned in a spectacular comeback to down Ohio Valley Conference rival Morehead State, 3-2.

Not one, not two, not even four or five, but all six duals were decided in three sets on the day, making for a thrilling match-up between the two OVC foes. The entire match was a roller coaster, with the first decision going to Morehead State (5-6, 1-4) in the exhibition pairings.

The Golden Eagles (5-8, 2-3) picked up the first point of the day, securing a three-set win in the No. 5 position behind a dynamite display by Jazmine Yamilkoski and Katie DiRaimondo. The Tech duo claimed the opening set 21-15, but took a step back in a tight, 21-19 decision to even the match-up. The combo came up clutch to help set the tone early, besting their Eagle counterpart, 15-12, for the first point.

Morehead bounced back to pick up wins in both the No. 3 and No. 4 slots, with very different duals resulting in a pair of points for the visitors. The Eagles claimed the No. 4 point with a 21-19, 11-21, 15-5 triumph while it was a tighter decision at the No. 3 slot, with the Morehead eking out a 16-21, 21-15, 19-17 win.

"Jaz and Katie set the stage for us early and delivered their most complete performance of the year," Tech head coach Zach Weinberg said. "Even the matches we lost in the 3's and 4's had great moments."

In need of two clutch points to take the win, Tech's top tandems turned on the turbos and took off. Finishing just seconds apart, the Golden Eagles found a way, starting at the No. 1 position.

Bella Powell and Madolyn Isringhausen rebounded from a close, 21-18 defeat in their opening set for another tight decision in the second, winning 22-20. It was all purple and gold in the deciding game, with Powell and Isringhausen earning the well-fought W 15-8.

Clinching the victory for the Cookeville crew was the No. 2 pairing of MK Roberts and Skylar Boom. In the closest battle of the day, the Golden Eagle combo took the first set behind a 21-19 decision. Morehead State answered right back by flipping that score to its own 21-19 win, setting up the winner-take-all scenario.

Battling for all the marbles in the third set, Roberts and Boom outlasted their opponents, invoking a mass of cheers from the Golden Eagle faithful. Tech's No. 2 group topped the Eagles 15-13 to lock down the comeback victory.

"What a battle today and an absolutely gritty performance by our 1's and 2's to pull out three-set wins when the team needed them most," Weinberg expressed. "When matches on all six courts go three sets, it's the little things that secure the win, and Skylar/MK and Maddie/Bella did exactly what was needed to do just that for us. Ultimately, it was a great team win and gives us a ton of positivity heading into the rematch tomorrow."

Both sides will square off again on Saturday, meeting at 11:00 a.m. at the Tech Beach Courts. As an added touch to Saturday's contest, fans will receive free sunglasses while supplies last.

"Overall I'm proud of the way the team performed today," Weinberg added. "With that many three-set matches, it could have been anyone's dual and it says a lot about the fight of this crew to come out on the positive end of it. We'll need to raise our level even more tomorrow because we know that Morehead will do just that. Hopefully, we get another great crowd and can give the home fans something to cheer about."

Photo by Jim Dillon

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