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Tech earns split on final day of regular season and OVC play

Tech earns split on final day of regular season and OVC play

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

MARTIN, Tenn. – The 2024 regular season is officially in the books for the Tennessee Tech beach volleyball team, as the Golden Eagles earned a 1-1 split on the final day of action in Martin, Tenn. at the final Ohio Valley Conference weekend.

The purple and gold (7-13, 3-7) opened the day with a strong performance in a 4-1 loss at the hands of OVC regular-season champion UT Martin (15-15, 9-1) on its home sand. Tech then bounced back to earn a 4-1 victory of its own over Eastern Illinois (3-13, 0-10) to end the regular season] on a high note.

Against the Skyhawks, the No. 1 duo for the Golden Eagles of Bella Powell and Madolyn Isringhausen continued their hot play by securing another huge victory on the weekend. The two edged their UT Martin counterparts 22-20 in the opening set before eking out another close call in the second, 21-19.

It was nearly two points for the Cookeville crew, as the No. 5 tandem of Ava Schubert and McKenna Young fell in an extremely tight, three-set battle. After dropping the opener 21-14, the Tech team of two responded with a 21-13 win of its own. UT Martin eventually outlasted Schubert and Young in the third set, 15-13.

"The scores don't reflect it, but I thought we played our most complete dual of the OVC season against UT Martin," Tech head coach Zach Weinberg expressed. "We're not in the business of searching for moral victories, but Liv/Bean [Olivia Taylor/Emma Pabon] and McKenna/Ava winning sets over UTM seconds apart from each other – the first two sets we've ever taken from them – followed by Maddie and Bella winning their match in the 1's, was a big step forward against a team we've struggled so mightily against in the first two seasons. We have a ways to go, but I was proud of the way the team competed against Martin."

 Squaring off with EIU, the Golden Eagles earned an automatic point with the Panthers forfeiting at the No. 5 slot. In the battle of No. 4s, Tech tango of Jazmine Yamilkoski and Katie DiRaimondo outpaced Eastern Illinois' side in three sets. Rebounding from a 24-22 heartbreaker in the first, the pair put forth wins of 21-13 and 15-11 to capture the point.

Brooke Amann and Aleeya Jones locked down another point for the purple and gold at the 3s, also delivering in a three-set thriller. This time, it was Tech taking the early lead with a 21-14 triumph in set one. EIU evened things with a 21-14 win of its own before Amann and Jones finished things off with a 15-8 decision in the third.

Finishing off a 3-1 weekend, Powell and Isringhausen reigned supreme again as the No. 1 pairing, topping the Panthers in straight sets. A battle in both, the two worked out wins of 21-18 and 21-19 for a special display for the event.

"We were sluggish on a bunch of courts against EIU to start, but ultimately we had enough pairs turn it around for us to get a much-needed dual win," Weinberg said. "Something we talked about a lot this weekend is the old golf phrase of 'there are no pictures on the scorecard.' Despite the fact that it wasn't our cleanest dual, we did enough to get the win, and that is the most important thing."

Next up for the Golden Eagles is the OVC Tournament, taking place in Morehead, Ky. Thursday Apr. 25 through Saturday, Apr. 27. Tech, seeded No. 5, will open the event with a 9:00 a.m. CT match-up against host No. 4 Morehead State.

"I'm thrilled we get to open the OVC tournament against Morehead State on Thursday on their home sand," Weinberg explained. "If our two duals with them earlier this season are any indicator, the first round is going to be a battle. This regular season has been up and down for us, but at the end of the day, the slate for everyone is wiped clean and it's a race to the championship. We'll be ready on Thursday morning to start that race."

File photo by UT Martin Athletics

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