By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – It's officially time for Ohio Valley Conference play for the Tennessee Tech volleyball team, as the Golden Eagles hit the road for a pair of tilts in league action in Edwardsville, Ill. The Golden Eagles square off with the Cougars of SIUE in matches on Friday, Sept. 24 and Saturday, Sept. 25.
The OVC opener is slated for a 6:00 p.m. CT start at the Vadalabene Center on Friday evening. The second match of the weekend will kick off at 2:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Action for both contests is slated to appear on ESPN+.
Tech concluded its non-conference slate with its most challenging stretch on the schedule, falling 3-1 to Western Carolina and then dropping matches to 10-2 Houston and eventual Bama Bash Invitational champion Alabama.
Tops on the Tech squad across the board this season has been Preseason All-OVC selection Taylor Dorsey. The junior leads Tech with 39 total blocks, ranking fourth in the league with a 1.00 per set mark. Her 98 kills mark the second-best total on the team while her team-high .285 hitting percentage is the third-best mark in the OVC. The middle blocker currently ranks sixth in program history in block assists and 10th in total blocks.
Enjoying a breakthrough campaign is returning freshman Madolyn Isringhausen, leading the Golden Eagles and ranking seventh in the OVC with 3.26 kills per set and 127 total kills on the year. Her team-high 16 services aces and mark of 0.41 per set represent the fourth-best mark in the league. She also boasts 20 total blocks and a team-high six solo blocks.
This season, setter Ashley Hand made history, becoming just the 11th player in program history to surpass 2,000 career assists. Sitting with 369 total and a mark of 9.46 per set, she ranks fifth in the OVC. She also boasts 18 blocks on the year.
Libero McKenna Young leads her squad with 150 digs for a mark of 3.85 per set on the season, the eighth-best mark in the conference. She also owns 14 service aces, a mark of 0.36 per set that also ranks eighth in the OVC. Sophomore middle blocker Skylar Boom owns a .241 attack percentage with 54 kills and 26 total blocks while Madeline Furtado has turned in 78 kills and 10 blocks. Right side Morgan Gish also has 54 kills this season with a strong total of 22 blocks.
SCOUTING THE COUGARS
(2021 record: 3-8, 0-0 OVC | Series Record: 6-4 | H: 4-1 | A: 2-3 | N: 0-0)
SIUE enters the weekend after snapping a four-match skid with a 3-0 victory over Western Illinois in their own Cougar Invitational this past weekend. The Edwardsville crew dropped its other match of the weekend, falling to Valparaiso 3-0. The Cougars also have wins (3-2) over former OVC foe Eastern Kentucky and at Purdue Fort Wayne (3-2) this season.
Leading the Cougars this season offensively has been outside hitter Julia Treichel, averaging 2.13 kills per set with 85 total. Sydney Hummert sits a close second on the squad, delivering 75 kills for a 1.92 average on the year.
Middle blocker Annie Ellis is the team's most efficient attacker this season, turning in a hitting percentage of .250 with 66 total kills. She also paces the team with 46 total blocks, ranking second in the OVC with a mark of 1.15 per set. Her 12 solo blocks lead the league. Fellow middle Savannah Christian also hits above .200 turning in a mark of .235 with 56 kills.
Setter Alyse Drifka ranks eighth in the conference with 6.22 assists per set, totaling 249 on the year while also ranking second for SIUE with 84 total digs. Grace Hurst is the top defensive specialist for the Cougars, recording 102 digs for a 2.68 per set mark. Her 12 service aces also lead the team.
The Golden Eagles return to the Hooper Eblen Center for the first time in a month, playing host to in-state rival Tennessee State in the team's OVC home opener on Friday, Oct. 1 in a 6:00 p.m. CT tilt. Tech will host the Tigers again on Saturday, Oct. 2, this time in a 7:00 p.m. match-up following the conclusion of the Golden Eagle football game against Southeast Missouri.
Photo by Chattanooga Athletics