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Golden Eagles hold off Bruins for 10th OVC win of year

Golden Eagles hold off Bruins for 10th OVC win of year

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Resolve and determination was the name of the game for the Tennessee Tech volleyball team Friday evening, as the Golden Eagles held off a comeback bid by Ohio Valley Conference and in-state rival Belmont for a 3-2 (25-17, 25-16, 20-25, 19-25, 15-9) victory in Nashville.

The purple and gold jumped out to an immediate lead in the opening set and never looked back, producing an 8-2 edge. Tech (15-13, 10-7) increased the advantage to as much as seven on its way to a hefty, 25-17 victory, hitting .240 with 10 kills and an impressive 4.0 blocks.

Set two required a rally from the visitors, but a massive run in the middle of the game propelled the Golden Eagles the rest of the way. Trailing 10-8, the purple and gold went on a roll, collecting 11 consecutive points with middle blocker Taylor Dorsey at the serve. On top, 19-10, seemingly out of nowhere, Tech cruised the rest of the way to a 2-0 lead, capturing the set 25-16.

The Golden Eagles hit .385 in the second set, racking up 13 kills and a trio of rejections. Belmont (9-18, 7-10) flipped the script in the third set, totaling 13 kills of its own on a .346 attack percentage. A battle most of the way, the Bruins broke a 17-17 tie and took the set 25-20.

In the fourth set, the home squad took an early 3-0 lead and never relinquished it, compiling 12 more kills. Belmont went on to take the game 25-19, evening the match at 2-2 and looking to complete the comeback in the final match-up.

Tech never gave Belmont a chance, sprinting out to a 4-0 lead in the race to 15 points. The Bruins closed the set to as close as 7-6, but a 5-0 run from the Golden Eagles all but put the match away. The purple and gold finished things off in the end, winning 15-9 in the fifth and final set for a 3-2 triumph.

It was a concerted effort from the Golden Eagle offense, with four members of the squad producing double-figure kills. Outside hitter Madolyn Isringhausen led the way, recording a match-high 12 terminations. She added 11 digs for her ninth double-double of the season.

Right side Morgan Gish delivered 11 kills while hitting a very solid .292 with a trio of blocks. Matching her teammate's output of 11 smashes was middle blocker Skylar Boom, who lived up to her namesake while also rejecting five attacks by the Bruins. Libero McKenna Young made it 20-straight matches capturing double-digit digs, totaling a match-best 17 with seven assists and a pair of aces.

The reigning OVC Defensive Player of the Week, Taylor Dorsey hit .318 with 10 kills while racking up a match-high six blocks. On the night, the middle blocker became just the fifth Golden Eagle ever to total 400+ blocks in their career and moved past Annette Kupka for third on the all-time career block assists list.

The Birmingham native sits just two more block assists away from overtaking Kelsey Gray for second place on the career charts. Already the program's rally-era record holder for block assists in a single season (set last Saturday against Eastern Illinois), Dorsey needs just 12 more to snap the overall single-season mark for the team (133 by Stephanie Busch in 1997).

Senior and the reigning OVC Setter of the Week Ashley Hand nearly put together a triple-double on the night, leading the match with 42 assists. Her 13 digs provided her 12th double-double of the year. The Greenwood Village, Colo. native fired a career-high-tying eight kills on the night, hitting a staggering .615 as part of her best offensive performance as a Golden Eagle.

With the win over the Bruins, Tech matched the team's highest win total since 2014, also a 15-victory season. The W also marked the 10th in OVC play this season for the Golden Eagles, the most by the Cookeville crew since capturing 14 as part of the 2008 regular-season and tournament championship campaign.

The Golden Eagles will wrap up the 2021 regular season Saturday morning, squaring off with Belmont one last time in an 11:30 a.m. CT tilt.

File photo by Jim Dillon

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