By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech volleyball team hits the road for the first time in more than two weeks, making a visit to Murray State for a pair of weekend tilts with the Racers on Friday and Saturday.
Friday's match will feature a 6:00 p.m. CT start while Saturday's tilt is scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. Both matches are slated to appear on ESPN+.
After sweeping Murray State on the road last season and earning back-to-back road wins over the Racers for the first time since the 1997 and 1998 campaigns, Tech will look to make it three-straight wins over their longtime rival in Murray since 1984-86.
Tech split its weekend series with in-state foe Austin Peay, handing the Govs their first and only loss in conference play so far with a thrilling, five-set victory on Friday. This marks the first road match for the Golden Eagles in over two weeks, having just finished a five-match homestand with a 3-2 mark.
Outside hitter Madoyln Isringhausen turned in another strong week of play, averaging 3.85 kills per set, highlighted by a career-high 23 on a .304 attack percentage in the win over the Govs. She also notched her fourth double-double with 11 digs in the match. In the league, she ranks fourth in kills per set (3.42) and fifth in points per set (4.05).
Libero McKenna Young posted one of the top stretches of her young career, averaging 4.92 digs per set over the team's three matches last week. She posted a four-set career-high 27 digs against Morehead State and followed with another 20+ dig showing with 24 against Austin Peay. The Murfreesboro native ranks second in the league with 0.36 service aces per set and seventh in digs per set (4.09).
Senior Ashley Hand continues to rank among the league's best setters, averaging the fourth-most assists per set at 9.97. In league play, she ratchets it up to the second-best mark, averaging 10.68 per set to trail only Murray State's Bailey DeMier. Hand ranks seventh in Tech history in career assists, needing 475 more to pass Jenny (Pruett) Turner for sixth.
Middle blocker Taylor Dorsey ranks fourth in the OVC with a team-high 1.09 blocks per set and in attack percentage with a mark of .286. The junior sits just 13 total blocks away from passing Bilyana Triko for fifth on Tech's all-time list. She also needs 37 block assists to move past Bonnie Zoss for fourth on the program's career charts.
SCOUTING THE RACERS
(2021 record: 8-9, 2-5 OVC | Series Record: 28-41 | H: 14-17 | A: 12-21 | N: 2-3)
The Racers enter this weekend's tilts after dropping a tough, heart-breaking, five-set meeting with Austin Peay Wednesday evening in Clarksville. The loss was the fifth straight for Murray State, which after the tilts with Tech, will have played four of the league's top-five teams in over a seven-match span.
Included in that gauntlet have been a pair of losses at Morehead State, a pair of defeats at the hands of UT Martin, and the loss against the Govs. Three of the five have come in five sets.
Freshman Brooke Lynn Watts leads the Racers and the OVC in kills per set, terminating a whopping 4.98 attempts per set for a total of 324 in 65 games this season. The outside hitter is hitting .224 while adding 124 digs and nine service aces.
Murray State also boasts the league leader in assists per set, with Bailey DeMier averaging 11.12 with 723 total. The rookie paces her squad with 13 aces. Senior libero Becca Fernandez ranks at the top of the conference with 5.94 digs per set, racking up 386 so far this year.
Leading the Racers in blocks at 0.56 per set with 32 total is redshirt senior Kolby McClelland. The middle blocker also ranks second on the team with 141 total kills.
The Golden Eagles head back to Cookeville for a pair of weekend match-ups against Southeast Missouri on Friday, Oct. 22 and Saturday, Oct. 23.
Photo by Jim Dillon