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Tech volleyball team opens 2022 season at Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational

Tech volleyball team opens 2022 season at Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech volleyball team will kick off the 2022 campaign with its first of four tournaments to tune up for the Ohio Valley Conference season, making a trip to Springfield, Mo. for Missouri State's Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational.

Slated from Friday, Aug. 26 to Sunday, Aug. 28, the purple and gold will square off with Central Arkansas at 10:00 a.m. CT Friday morning to begin the 2022 season. The Golden Eagles will take on host MSU later that evening in a 6:30 p.m. affair, the only Tech match scheduled to be streamed over the weekend. It will be available on ESPN+.

The purple and gold wraps up its season-opening weekend Saturday with a match-up against Oral Roberts at 12:00 p.m. All contests will take place at Hammons Student Center on the campus of Missouri State.

Friday, August 26 – vs. Central Arkansas, 10:00 a.m. | Live Stats
Friday, August 26 – at Missouri State, 6:30 p.m. | Live Video | Live Stats
Saturday, August 27 – vs. Oral Roberts, 12:00 p.m. | Live Stats

After racking up the most total wins (16) and league victories (11) for the program since the 2008 squad captured both the OVC regular-season and tournament titles, the Golden Eagles were selected fourth in the OVC's most recent predicted order of finish. It marked the highest the purple and gold ranked on the league's preseason poll since also being selected fourth in 2011.

Back to lead the purple and gold is senior middle blocker Taylor Dorsey, who collected her second straight All-OVC First Team after setting Tech's single-season, rally-scoring era record for block assists with 126. The Birmingham native also delivered the third-best single-season hitting percentage in the rally-scoring era by a Golden Eagle, sporting a percentage of 31.6. In addition to leading the OVC in block assists, she also paced the league with 139 total blocks and 1.23 blocks per set.

Enjoying a breakout season as a second-year freshman, Madolyn Isringhausen locked down a spot on the All-OVC Second Team after pacing the purple and gold offensively in 2021. She led the Golden Eagles with 364 kills and 3.19 kills per set, ranking seventh and eighth in the league, respectively. Her 3.79 points per set ranked her fifth in the conference while her 431.5 total points put her in the sixth position among her peers.

McKenna Young returns as Tech's reigning digs leader, compiling 448 for a 3.93 per set average to rank sixth in the OVC last season. She also led the team with 36 services aces, finishing third in the league while tying for fifth-most in single-season, rally-scoring era history for Tech.

(2021 record: 7-18, 5-11 ASUN | Series Record: 0-1 | H: 3-5 | A: 2-6 | N: 2-7)

Last season, UCA posted a 7-18 record with a 5-11 mark overall in Atlantic Sun Conference action. The Sugar Bears won three of their final six tilts to end the season, missing out on postseason tournament action.

Tying for the team's lead in kills and back for her senior campaign is outsider hitter Alexis Stumbough, who posted 189 terminations for a 2.66 per set mark. She added 45 blocks to the mix, ranking fourth for the Sugar Bears.

Junior Anna Myers returns as the team's assists leader after splitting duties last season. She compiled 434 helpers for a 6.78 per set rate and ranked fourth on the team with 114 digs. Fellow junior Lexie Gregory turned in the team's top mark in digs last season, racking up 297 for a 3.38-per-match line.

Tech fell to the Sugar Bears in the two teams' only previous tilt, a 3-0 decision back in 2010 at the WKU Invitational.

(2021 record: 16-13, 7-10 MVC | Series Record: 0-2 | H: 8-3 | A: 4-8 | N: 4-2)

Tournament host Missouri State turned in a 16-13 mark with a 7-10 record in Missouri Valley Conference play a year ago, just missing out on the league's postseason tournament. During last season's Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational, the host Bears cruised without dropping a single set in three straight 3-0 victories over ULM, Tulane, and Saint Louis.

Missouri State is 18-5 at home and 13-4 in non-conference matches under third-year head coach Steven McRoberts. The Bears have won 77 percent of their matches in 46 years of playing at Hammons Student Center. The team also boasts 21 consecutive victories when winning the first set, dating back to February 2021.

Senior Azyah Green averaged 1.17 blocks per set last season, the highest figure for the team since 2006. She's led the Bears in blocks in her first three seasons, including last year's total of 122.

Sophomore setter Morgan Sprague paced MSU with 949 assists a season ago, good for a 9.30 per set mark. Middle Maddy Bushnell set the program's freshman record while leading the MVC with a .343 attack percentage last season, accounting for 1177 kills and 71 blocks.

Missouri State owns a 2-0 advantage over Tech all-time, posting a 2-0 win way back in 1978 and a 3-0 victory in 2007 at the Chattanooga Invitational.

(2021 record: 18-11, 11-7 SUMMIT | Series Record: 1-0 | H: 7-2 | A: 6-6 | N: 5-3)

Last season, Oral Roberts delivered its best finish since 2016 with an 18-11 record and 11-7 mark in the Summit League. Off to a hot start after sweeping its first two non-conference tournaments last season, the Golden Eagles eventually fell to Omaha, 3-1, in the Summit League Tournament semifinals.

Middle blocker Sakira LaCour returns after earning All-Summit League First honors and leading the team with 141 blocks and 1.33 blocks per set. She ranked second on the team with 263 kills as well, hitting a robust .360.

Sophomore Trinity Freeman paced the Oral Roberts squad with 285 terminations and a 2.74 per set rate, earning a spot on the Summit League All-Freshman Team. Back for the Golden Eagles after accounting for 216 kills and 106 blocks is junior Jaxie Wakley.

Setter Bryanne Soares returns as the facilitator of the ORU offense after tallying a team-best 1,007 assists in 2021. She averaged 9.68 helpers per set.

Tech took the win in the only meeting between the two Golden Eagle squads, sweeping ORU 3-0 back in 1993.

Up Next
The purple and gold will return to Cookeville for their annual home tournament, the Golden Eagle Invitational, from Sept. 2-3 in the Hooper Eblen Center. Tech plays host to Northwestern on Friday, at 10:30 a.m. CT and then Western Carolina at 7:30 p.m. that evening. The tournament wraps up with a 2:00 p.m. tilt between the Golden Eagles and Evansville.

Photo by Emily Armstrong

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