By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – For the third time in the last four matches, the Tennessee Tech volleyball team produced a season-high 15 blocks, paving the way for a 3-1 victory over new Ohio Valley Conference foe Little Rock Friday evening in the Hooper Eblen Center.
With the defense on lockdown all night, the Golden Eagles (13-12, 10-3) matched the effort with an unrelenting attack, racking up 56 kills. Tech also held the Trojans (7-19, 4-9) to just 37 terminations and .048 attack percentage.
The Golden Eagles earned their seventh straight victory, matching the seven-match streak last turned in by the 2008 Tech squad for the longest since 1998. The OVC champion 1998 team claimed nine consecutive wins that season.
It was a little bit of a sluggish start for the purple and gold, trailing 9-4 early. Tech battled back with a 6-1 run, squaring up a set that would trade leads several times to the end. Little Rock pulled out 22-19, but a quick response from the Cookeville crew made it a back-and-forth trading of points the rest of the way.
It took a 27-27 tie before the Trojans made their move, picking up the 29-27 win to take a 1-0 lead. Little Rock matched Tech's attack, with both sides producing 15 kills. It wouldn't happen again for the remainder of the night.
Set two was a battle from the start, with the visitors running out to a 12-8 lead. The Trojans kept the Golden Eagle comeback bid at bay for as long as they could, but the home squad finally pulled ahead at 22-21. From there, Tech outpaced Little Rock for a 25-23 win to even things up.
The Golden Eagles turned in four blocks for the second straight set and another 14 kills. Little Rock was limited to just eight terminations in the set.
Complete domination was at hand for the purple and gold in the third, exploding off a 3-3 tie for an impressive and decisive 25-10 victory. Yet another four blocks, as well as 12 kills, went into the register for the Golden Eagles, all while holding the Trojans to just four kills and a -.185 hitting percentage.
The final set was very similar in nature, with a quick 9-3 lead proving plenty to build on for Tech. The purple and gold used the run to pick up a 25-16 win and yet another victory. The Golden Eagles hit a robust .382 in the set, tacking on 15 kills and three more blocks.
Delivering the highlight of the night for the purple and gold was sophomore Madolyn Isringhausen, becoming the first Golden Eagle in program history to record a triple-double in the rally-scoring era. The outside hitter crushed a match-high 15 kills, sprawled out for 11 digs, and cashed in a career-high 10 blocks to cement her name in the record books.
Joining the Isringhausen with a big performance on defense, middle blocker Skylar Boom piled up eight blocks to go along with seven kills. Not to be outdone, fellow middle Taylor Dorsey delivered six rejections to move within five of becoming just the third player in program history to reach 500 total blocks for a career. She also added 11 kills on a .409 attack to the mix.
Right side Morgan Gish posted a strong showing with 14 kills and a .300 attack percentage. Brooke Amann tallied a season-high seven kills and contributed six digs. Defensive specialist Aleeya Jones piled up a career-high 18 digs to lead the match while libero McKenna Young rounded up 16.
Freshman setter Jordan Karlen produced another big night quarterbacking the Tech offense, totaling 49 assists for a 12.25 per set average. She picked up her seventh double-double of the year as well, thanks to 11 digs.
Tech will look to make it eight straight victories Saturday afternoon, squaring off with Little Rock again at 2:00 p.m. CT in the Hoop.
Photo by Jim Dillon