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Dorsey selected to Preseason All-OVC Team, Tech picked fifth in OVC predicted order of finish

Dorsey selected to Preseason All-OVC Team, Tech picked fifth in OVC predicted order of finish

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Ohio Valley Conference officially released its preseason predicted order of finish and the Preseason All-OVC Team Tuesday morning, and a familiar face for the Tennessee Tech volleyball team was found among the league's top-ranked players headed into the 2021 campaign.

For the second straight year, returning junior middle blocker Taylor Dorsey was honored as a member of the Preseason All-OVC Team, fresh off claiming her first career All-OVC First Team honor in the spring during the league's abbreviated 2020-21 season. The accolades have to started to pile up for the Birmingham, Ala. native, who was also an All-OVC Second Team member in 2019. 

"Taylor is so fun in every sense of the word," Tech head coach Jeannette Waldo expressed. "One minute, she'll be dancing to whatever jam might come on over on the sidelines, and the next minute, she's showing laser focus on the court. In her eyes, nothing she does is good enough, which may explain why she has achieved so much in her volleyball career. Getting her to hear compliments doesn't always work, but there are always plenty floating around, so occasionally they land."

In 16 matches last season, Dorsey paced the Golden Eagles in hitting percentage and total blocks while ranking in the top-three on the team in kills and points.  Proving to be arguably the most lethal middle in the league, she led the conference with 70.0 total blocks and ranked second in blocks per set with a mark of 1.17. She also registered 141 kills and 181.5 points on the year, extending her value far beyond just the defensive side of the net. Her .306 hitting percentage ranked seventh in the league.

During the 2020-21 campaign, Dorsey recorded her second and third career double-doubles, accounting for 13 kills and 10 total blocks for 19.5 points on a .346 hitting percentage against Eastern Kentucky and 14 kills, 10 total blocks, 19.0 points, and a .414 attack percentage at Murray State. She posted double-digit kills eight times on the year, including five of the last six matches, with the one outlier a nine-kill performance.

The 6-foot-2 wall for the Golden Eagles rejected at least five attacks from her opponents eight times throughout the year, including each of the final four contests. In 11 matches, she totaled double-figure points, including a run of the final six tilts of the season. Five times on the year she hit over .400 in a match, with her best showing a mark of .571 on 14 kills against Eastern Illinois in the team's first win of the year.

"She is a model of character and hard work," Waldo said of Dorsey, "and she reminds us that you shouldn't take everything seriously 100 percent of the time. I am so proud of everything she has already accomplished and everything that she still has in front of her. She is going to have another fun season simply 'doing what Taylor does,' as we say."

The Golden Eagles were selected to finish fifth in the league in the 2021 OVC Predicted Teams Order of finish, as voted on by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors. The selection aligns with Tech's finish in the final standings of last season, a fifth-place showing that in most years would have resulted in an OVC Tournament berth. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the postseason event was reduced to a field of four, with the purple and gold the first team out in the adjusted format.

Joining Dorsey on the front lines for Tech in looking to make a return trip to the OVC Tournament is returning sophomore middle blocker Skylar Boom. The Louisville, Ky. native enjoyed a breakout campaign last year, leading the league in solo blocks (17) while ranking second on the Golden Eagles in kills (144), attack percentage (.229), block assists (43), total blocks (60), and points (182.5). 

Back for her final go-around in the purple and gold is veteran setter Ashley Hand, who registered 591 assists and averaged 9.69 per set last season. She added 35 kills, 18 service aces, 127 digs, and 33 total blocks for good measure. Outside hitter Madeline Furtado, another breakthrough candidate from the 2020-21 campaign, enters the new season after posting 133 kills, 106 digs, and 15 total blocks in her first full year of action in the Tech colors.

The Golden Eagles head to Nashville for an in-state exhibition against Lipscomb on Friday, Aug. 20 at 6:30 p.m. CT. Tech will then officially kick off the 2021 campaign on Friday, Aug. 27 with a pair of tilts in the War Eagle Invitational hosted by Auburn. The purple and gold will take on The Citadel in a 10:30 a.m. match, followed by a 4:30 p.m. match-up with Jackson State. The tournament will round out with an Aug. 28 meeting with Auburn at 10:30 a.m.

2021 Preseason All-OVC Volleyball Team
(as Selected by OVC Head Volleyball Coaches and Sports Information Directors)

Bridget Bessler, Morehead State
Savannah Christian, SIUE
Taylor Dorsey, Tennessee Tech
Becca Fernandez, Murray State
Taylor Floyd, Belmont
Colby Greene, Southeast Missouri
Jayla Holcombe, Murray State
Abby Hulsman, Morehead State
Olivia Lohmeier, Morehead State
Laney Malloy, Southeast Missouri
Brooke Moore, Austin Peay
Claire Ochs, Southeast Missouri
Gina Rivera-Ortiz, Tennessee State
Logan Wallick, UT Martin

2021 OVC Volleyball Predicted Team Order of Finish
(as Selected by OVC Head Volleyball Coaches and Sports Information Directors)

1. Morehead State (17 first-place votes) - 161
2. Southeast Missouri (Three first-place votes) - 136
3. Austin Peay - 121
4. SIUE - 120
5. Tennessee Tech - 92
6. UT Martin - 75
7. Murray State - 74
8. Belmont - 38
9. Tennessee State - 36
10. Eastern Illinois - 26

(*Schools were not allowed to rank their own team. Nine points awarded for a first-place vote, eight for second, etc.)

Photo by Jim Dillon

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