By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Resiliency was key for the Tennessee Tech volleyball team Saturday afternoon, as the Golden Eagles took home a 3-1 (25-21, 17-25, 25-21, 25-23) victory at SIUE to start their Ohio Valley Conference season a perfect 2-0 on the road.
It marked the first 2-0 start to league play for the purple and gold since the 2014 season after sweeping the Cougars (3-10, 0-2) in last night's OVC opener. Less than 24 hours after looking relatively dominant against SIUE, the Golden Eagles (7-6, 2-0) saw a little more resistance from their opponent on Saturday.
The Edwardsville squad edged out in front in the opening set, taking a 12-10 lead. Tech squared things quickly and the two sides battled back and forth, equaling the score at 18-18. The visitors from Cookeville rolled off three straight points to take control and used another three-point streak to end the set with a 25-21 win.
The Golden Eagles hit a whopping .344 as a unit in the opening set, compiling 15 kills to just four errors, just a preview of things to come later in the match. SIUE jumped out quickly in set two, however, using a 5-0 run and an inefficient spell by the Golden Eagle attack to take a 25-17 win and even the match at 1-1.
The hot-hitting Tech squad went back to work in set three, racking up an outstanding 18 kills to just five errors for a .351 attack percentage. Despite the great showing, the Cougars owned a pair of decent leads in the set, a three-point edge at 6-3 and a four-point advantage at 17-13.
Four straight scores by the Golden Eagles tied things right up, allowing the two sides to trade blows to a 19-19 stalemate. Tech used a 6-2 run to close out the set, winning 25-21 and taking a 2-1 lead in the match.
The Cougars looked well on their way to leveling things at 2-2 for the match in the fourth set, taking their largest lead of the weekend at 20-14. Tech showed off its tenacity though, ripping off six straight points to starts things over at 20-20. The Golden Eagles dug deep and finished things off in style, winning the set 25-23 and taking the match 3-1.
It was a huge day at the office for outside hitter Madolyn Isringhausen, as the returning freshman paced all players with 19 kills, the second-highest total of her career. She also chipped in seven digs and three total blocks, accounting for 21.0 total points.
Junior Taylor Dorsey continued her strong start to the year, compiling 11 kills while hitting .333. She tacked on six more blocks as well, including one solo and five assists. Fellow middle blocker Skylar Boom accounted for seven kills and three blocks to add to the powerful tandem.
Right side Morgan Gish was efficient on the day, hitting .316 with nine kills and just three errors. She also tacked on three block assists, counting towards the team's 11.0 total rejections.
Ashley Hand produced another great display of distribution, collecting 45 assists for a mark of 11.25 per set on the day. She added eight digs, four kills, and two blocks as well. Both McKenna Young and Lauren Toledo tied for the team lead in digs, each producing 10 in the match.
The Golden Eagles are set to return to Cookeville for the first time in nearly a month, playing host to in-state rival Tennessee State in their OVC home-opener on Friday, Oct. 1. The match is set for a 6:00 p.m. CT start at the Hooper Eblen Center. The second match of the weekend will take place on Saturday, Oct. 2 at 7:00 p.m. following the Tech football game against Southeast Missouri.
File photo by Jim Dillon