By Jonathan Caudle, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Tech volleyball team launches its Ohio Valley Conference home slate this Saturday, hosting the Southeast Missouri Redhawks at 2 p.m. in the Hooper Eblen Center.
The Golden Eagles (4-10, 0-1 OVC) are coming off a road loss to the Jacksonville State Gamecocks in their league opener this past Wednesday.
The two programs share a few mutual foes so far this season, as both earned victories over Western Illinois and North Alabama, while also falling in five-set matches to Southern Illinois. The Redhawks did, however, earn a 3-0 victory over Evansville, while the Golden Eagles fell in a five-set battle against the Purple Aces.
- Junior Ali Verzani led the Golden Eagles in their OVC opener with eight kills.
- Verzani also currently ranks third in the OVC in attacks per set and points per set, with the former placing her 62nd in the NCAA.
- Sophomore Ashley Hand is coming off the best week of her career, posting four-straight 50-plus assist games and tallying a career-high 58 assists against Evansville. She added 24 assists during the Golden Eagles contest against Jacksonville.
- Hand ranks 66th in the NCAA and fifth in the OVC in total assists on the season.
- Sophomore Taylor Dorsey also tallied 22 blocks last week, more than doubling her previous total of 20 on the season, and adding four more during Tech's match against Jacksonville this week.
- Freshman Carly Skrabak recorded a match-high 13 digs against the Gamecocks earlier this week, bringing her season total to 187.
SCOUTING THE REDHAWKS
The Redhawks are currently on a five-game winning streak, including a 3-0 record during the Beale Street Challenge with wins over Toledo, North Alabama, and Memphis, as well as a four-set victory in their OVC opener against UT Martin earlier this week.
Offensively, the Redhawks are led by Laney Malloy and Annie Wehrheim, who have both eclipsed the 100-kill mark on the season with 173 and 128 kills, respectively. Southeast Missouri's primary setter is Claire Ochs, who has accumulated 518 assists so far this year, averaging a little over nine per set (9.09). Tara Beilsmith has anchored the back row for the Redhawks, tallying a team-high 265 on the season, while Krista Berns has been the leader for Southeast Missouri at the net with 42 blocks on the season.
Southeast Missouri leads the series all-time, accumulating a 42-11 record over the Golden Eagles. The last matchup between the two programs finished in a five-set thriller with the Redhawks garnering the win and the Golden Eagles last victory over SEMO coming in 2015, when Tech took the win in a sweep.
Photo by Jim Dillon