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Tech to host first home matches at 2022 Golden Eagle Invitational

Tech to host first home matches at 2022 Golden Eagle Invitational

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech volleyball team returns to the Hooper Eblen Center to host the Golden Eagle Invitational this weekend, representing the first home action for the purple and gold in 2022.

Tech will host Northwestern, Western Carolina, and Evansville in a round-robin-style tournament, with four matches slated for Friday, Sept. 2 and two more for Saturday, Sept. 3. All six matches will be streamed live on ESPN+ with Mandy Thatcher, Rob Schabert, and Dylan Vazzano providing the calls all weekend.

Friday, Sept. 2 – Tech vs. Northwestern, 10:30 a.m. | Live Video | Live Stats
Friday, Sept. 2 – Evansville vs. Western Carolina, 1:00 p.m. | Live Video | Live Stats
Friday, Sept. 2 – Northwestern vs. Evansville, 5:00 p.m. | Live Video | Live Stats
Friday, Sept. 2 – Tech vs. Western Carolina, 7:30 p.m. | Live Video | Live Stats
Saturday, Sept. 3 – Western Carolina vs. Northwestern, 10:30 a.m. | Live Video | Live Stats
Saturday, Sept. 3 – Tech vs. Evansville, 2:00 p.m. | Live Video | Live Stats

Tech fell in a trio of 3-1 decisions at the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational over the weekend to kick off the 2022 campaign. The Golden Eagles claimed the first set of the season, but eventually fell to tournament champion Central Arkansas, host Missouri State, and Oral Roberts in three, four-set matches.

Preseason All-OVC selection Taylor Dorsey was a steady presence for the purple and gold, securing All-Tournament honors after accumulating 32 kills and nine total blocks in 12 sets. On the year, the senior middle ranks fourth in the Ohio Valley Conference with a .361 attack percentage.

Another Preseason All-OVC representative, Madolyn Isringhausen, led the Golden Eagles offensively in the season-opening tournament, racking up 3.33 kills per set to rank eighth in the league. She totaled 40 for the weekend, along with 0.42 service aces to rank 10th in the OVC.

Rookie setter Jordan Karlen was spectacular in her collegiate debut, racking up 12.25 assists per set against Central Arkansas. She finished the week with 9.20 per set, ranking third in the conference.

Libero McKenna Young continued to rank among the best at her position in the OVC, posting 0.50 service aces per set to rank in a tie for fourth. Her 3.75 digs per set rank her tied for seventh among the league's defensive specialists as well.

(2022 record: 3-0, 0-0 Big Ten | Series Record: 0-0 | H: 0-0 | A: 0-0 | N: 0-0)

Northwestern began its 2022 season in dominant fashion last weekend, sweeping all three teams – Pacific, UTEP, and Northeastern – in three sets at the Wildcats Classic. NU is 3-0 to begin a season for the first time since 2015 and is one of two Big Ten teams (Nebraska) to begin this year without dropping a set.

The 'Cats were led by senior Temi Thomas-Ailara, who notched a weekend-high 30 kills (3.33 k/s). Shortly behind was Hanna Lesiak, who added 26 kills of her own (2.89 k/s).

Alexa Rousseau earned 83 assists (9.22 a/s) as the primary setter, while Megan Miller received a team-high 29 digs (3.22 d/s). Rousseau also collected MVP honors for the tournament while Desiree Becker and Leilani Dodson also earned All-Tournament accolades.

In last weekend's finale against Northeastern, the Wildcats hit .500, recording the fourth-highest hitting percentage in program history (highest under the current rally-scoring format). It's the highest percentage since NU logged a program-best .689 mark in a win over Towson nearly 24 years ago (Sept. 18, 1998).

This will mark the first-ever match-up between the Golden Eagles and Northwestern.

(2021 record: 3-1, 0-0 SoCON | Series Record: 9-5 | H: 3-0 | A: 2-2 | N: 4-3)

Western Carolina comes into play with a 3-1 mark after finishing 2-1 last week at the Wake Forest Invitational. WCU dropped a 3-1 decision to Kennesaw State before defeating host Wake Forest, 3-2, and NC Central, 3-0.

Behind sophomore Bailey Hartsough's third straight double-double, the Catamounts downed mountain rival UNC Asheville on the road in three sets on Tuesday evening to make it three straight wins. Hartsough had a team-best 12 kills and equaled that with 12 digs.

Junior Destinee Dorsey was credited with a team-best 14 digs while fifth-year senior Sydney Carlson was credited with 24 assists.

Fifth-year senior outside hitter Merry Gebel and junior middle blocker Eden Punch were honored as the Southern Conference Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week, respectively, as the league announced its first set of weekly honors for the 2022 season on Monday.

The Golden Eagles and Catamounts will square off for the 15th time in program history, with Tech owning a 9-5 advantage and a perfect 3-0 mark in Cookeville. WCU claimed victory in the most recent match-up, a 3-1 decision last year at the Bama Bash Invitational in Tuscaloosa.

(2021 record: 2-2, 0-0 MVC | Series Record: 6-8 | H: 3-1 | A: 2-5 | N: 1-2)

Evansville sits at 2-2 on the year following a 3-0 home victory over new Ohio Valley Conference member Southern Indiana on Tuesday night. In addition to its win against Southern Indiana, Evansville also owns a win over Marshall along with losses to Marshall and Wright State, all coming at the Marshall Invitational last weekend.

Reigning Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week Alondra Vazquez has led the Purple Aces in kills in all four matches this season. Vazquez is ranked in the top five nationally in three categories including total kills (3rd-76), total points (4th-81.5), and total attacks (5th-174). Her 5.07 kills per set pace the MVC and she set an early season mark of 26 kills in Friday's five-set contest at Marshall before hitting .367 with 16 more kills to lead UE to a 3-0 sweep on Saturday.

Evansville's block leader in 2022 has started to amp it up offensively as Madisyn Steele ranks fourth on the team with 1.53 kills per set. Steele has at least six kills in three of the four matches, including a season-high of seven against USI. Her efficiency in the last two matches has seen her hit .556 with 11 kills in 18 attempts while posting just one error.

Tech's Saturday tilt with the Purple Aces will represent the 15th in program history between the two programs, with Evansville holding the 8-6 advantage. The Golden Eagles are 3-1 at home all-time against UE. Evansville has won the last four matches between the two schools, including a 3-2 win at home in 2019.

Up Next
Tech will continue along the tournament road, traveling north for the Bobcat Invitational hosted by Ohio on Friday, Sept. 9 and Saturday, Sept. 10. The Golden Eagles square off on Friday with Loyola Maryland in a 3:30 p.m. CT tilt. The purple and gold then take on Bradley at 9:30 a.m. and host Ohio at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Photo by Emily Armstrong

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