By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Not one, but two Tennessee Tech volleyball student-athletes took home recognition from the Ohio Valley Conference Monday afternoon, as middle blocker Taylor Dorsey and setter Ashley Hand claimed weekly honors from the league. Dorsey earned a share of OVC Defensive Player of the Week accolades while Hand was named the league's Setter of the Week.
A Preseason All-OVC selection, Dorsey took home the second such honor of her career after claiming a share of the Defensive Player of the Week award last season. The middle blocker totaled 11 blocks in seven games for a 1.57 per set mark, leading the Golden Eagles to their first 2-0 start in league play since 2014 with a sweep of SIUE. She also tallied 18 kills with a hitting percentage of .324.
Dorsey racked up five total rejections in Friday's 3-0 win over the Cougars, hitting .312 with seven kills. She upped the effort in Tech's 3-1 victory on Saturday, totaling six more blocks with 11 kills and a .333 attack percentage. The Birmingham, Ala. native currently ranks second in the OVC in hitting percentage (.291) and fourth in blocks per set (1.09).
With her strong weekend, Dorsey now sits just vie block assists away from fifth on Tech's all-time career list. She also moved into eighth on the Golden Eagle career charts for total blocks. The Tech middle blocker shared the weekly honor with Tennessee State libero Gina Rivera-Ortiz.
Hand delivered her second career OVC Setter of the Week honor, and first since the 2019 campaign, after orchestrating a strong offensive attack for the Golden Eagles in their pair of victories at SIUE. The senior averaged 11.14 assists per set while totaling 78 across the team's seven sets of action. She also contributed seven kills, 17 digs, and three total blocks while guiding Tech to a .222 team hitting percentage.
A native of Greenwood Village, Colo., Hand distributed 33 helpers in the 3-0 sweep of the Cougars, hammering in three kills with an absurd .750 attack percentage and nine digs. She upped the ante in the 3-1 win on Saturday, producing 45 assists with eight more digs, four kills, and two blocks. In the match, Tech hit .242 or better in its three individual set victories, including .344 and .351 in the first and third games, respectively.
Over the weekend, Hand moved into 10th on Tech's all-time career assists list, passing former teammate Susie Jeziorowski. She needs just 46 assists to climb the leaderboard again and pass Sarah Hagovsky for ninth. Hand currently ranks third in the OVC in assists per set with a mark of 9.72.
Dorsey and Hand became the first pair of Golden Eagle volleyball teammates to claim honors from the league in the same week since Kirsten Brugere earned Defensive Player of the Week and Erica Grant was named Newcomer of the Week on Sept. 3, 2018.
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.
Photos by Jim Dillon and Christian Murphy