By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – A more consistent attack lifted the Tennessee Tech volleyball team to its fifth consecutive victory Saturday afternoon, as the Golden Eagles (11-12, 8-3) polished off their first season series sweep of Ohio Valley Conference rival Southeast Missouri in program history with a 3-1 victory at Houck Field House.
For just the second time in school history, the purple and gold took back-to-back matches from the Redhawks (11-13, 6-6) in Cape Girardeau, matching the feat accomplished by the 2009 and 2010 squads, who played one match at SEMO each of those seasons. The win marked Tech's third in a row squaring off with Southeast Missouri as well, the longest streak in program history.
The Golden Eagles hit .235 in the match, accumulating 57 kills while holding the Redhawks to 49 terminations and a .195 attack percentage. Unlike Friday evening's 3-1 win, Saturday's edition of the series did not require a barn-burner of a set, with all four being decided at the regulation 25-point mark.
Tech took the first one of the day, getting on a roll early and using a 3-0 run to break a 5-5 tie. The Golden Eagles never relinquished the lead the rest of the way, using a timeout with a 16-14 lead to regroup and dominate the remainder of the set. The visitors ended the first on a 9-4 run, taking the opener 25-18.
The Redhawks bounced back in the second set, overcoming an early 9-5 deficit to tie things at 10-10. The home squad turned it into a massive momentum swing, jumping out front 14-10 and cruising the remainder of the way to a 25-16 victory. After making nine attack errors in the opening set, SEMO turned in 14 kills with just a single miscue on the attack, instead forcing the Golden Eagles into nine of their own.
The purple and gold used the brief intermission between the second and third frames to gather itself, prepping for an absolute slugfest in the third. Never showing any panic, Tech used a timeout to plan its attack after falling behind 12-9. The response was a 5-0 swing that put the Cookeville crew back on top.
A two-point advantage quickly became four, with the Golden Eagles looking to stretch out further ahead at 17-13. Instead, SEMO turned in six straight points of its own to take its own two-point advantage. Resilient as ever, Tech stayed in the fight, overcoming one more deficit at 21-20 to close out the critical third set with a 25-23 win.
TTU hit an astounding .371 with 16 kills in the set to take a 2-1 lead, outperforming an impressive total of 15 on .263 efficiency from the Redhawks.
Set four started off much like the third, with the home squad moving in front at 9-5 and looking to pull even in the match. Another timely break called by Tech head coach Jeannette Phillips worked like a charm, as the Golden Eagles rattled off a 10-2-run to leap out front, 15-11.
Southeast Missouri gave it one more push, taking its final lead of the match at 19-18. The Golden Eagles all but put the match away with another 5-0 run. Tech finished things off to the tune of a 25-20 win, locking down blocks for the team's final two points.
Again, the Golden Eagles chalked up 16 kills, hitting .314 in the fourth set.
Leading the Tech effort were middle blockers Taylor Dorsey and Skylar Boom, both making a number of plays on both sides of the ball. Dorsey totaled 15 kills and four blocks on the day while Boom also racked up 15 terminations and three rejections.
Joining the two Tech middles in double figures were Madolyn Isringhausen and Morgan Gish. Picking up her fifth double-double of the year and second of the weekend, Isringhausen compiled 13 kills with 12 digs. Gish hit a team-high .476 from the right side, piling up 12 kills and three block assists.
Libero McKenna Young had a special night, recording her 1,000th career dig to become the first Golden Eagle to reach the benchmark since Kirsten Brugere in 2018. She finished the day with 12 digs and three assists.
Outside Brook Amann had another impressive day in the office, accounting for a team-high 17 digs. She posted a career-high 18 digs in Friday night's win. The junior also led the team with two service aces. Aleeya Jones made a big difference as well, producing 15 digs and an ace.
Rookie setter Jordan Karlen was spectacular again for the purple and gold, notching her sixth double-double of the year with a solid 45 assists and 10 digs.
The Golden Eagles visit Morehead State for a midweek tilt next Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 5:00 p.m. CT. Tech then hosts Little Rock on Friday, Oct. 28 at 6:00 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 29 at 2:00 p.m.
File photo by Jim Dillon