By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech volleyball team makes its final road trip of the 2022 regular season this weekend, trekking north for a pair of matches with Ohio Valley Conference foe Eastern Illinois.
Tech will square up with the Panthers in a 6:00 p.m. CT affair Friday evening to kick off the series. The two sides will meet again on Saturday, clashing in a 4:00 p.m. meeting in Lantz Arena. Both matches are slated to appear on ESPN+.
Another massive week kept the Golden Eagles in the hunt for their first OVC title since 2008, sitting just one game back of UT Martin in the standings after finishing 3-0 last week. Tech claimed a 3-1, midweek victory at Morehead State, sweeping the Eagles in the regular season for the first time since 2014.
The purple and gold backed it up with a 3-1 win over Little Rock on Friday and a 3-0 sweep of the Trojans on Saturday, extending the team's winning streak to eight. The Golden Eagles are now one win away from tying the longest winning streak since the 1998 OVC champion squad claimed nine consecutive victories. Tech now has its longest conference winning streak since collecting eight straight OVC dubs in 1983.
Middle blocker Taylor Dorsey took home her sixth career OVC Defensive Player of the Week honor on Monday, selected by the league voters after averaging 1.91 blocks per set. She piled up 21 total for the week, including a career-high tying 11 on her way to a double-double at Morehead State.
Dorsey currently ranks third in the league with a .340 attack percentage and eighth with 0.94 blocks per set. With 499 career rejections, the Birmingham native sits just one away from becoming the third member of Tech's 500-block club. She would also become the first Golden Eagle ever to post 1,000 kills and 500 blocks for a career.
Freshman setter Jordan Karlen ranks second in the league in total assists so far this season, racking up 889 in her rookie campaign. She also ranks second in assists per set with a mark of 9.88.
Junior middle blocker Skylar Boom has been a key cog in the Golden Eagle mix this season, ranking sixth in the league with a .287 attack percentage. She also ranks ninth with 0.90 blocks per set. Libero McKenna Young ranks eighth in the OVC with 3.78 digs per set and sixth with a total of 367.
Outside hitter Madolyn Isringhausen ranks fifth in the league with 0.34 service aces per set, compiling 33 so far on the year to rank fifth in overall aces. Her 3.19 kills per set rank seventh in the conference while her 309 total terminations rank her third.
SCOUTING THE PANTHERS
(2022 record: 14-12, 8-5 OVC | Series Record: 22-26 | H: 13-11 | A: 7-13 | N: 2-2)
The Panthers stayed at the number four spot this week in the OVC standings with an 8-5 conference record after splitting matches with Tennessee State in Nashville last weekend. Playing a rare doubleheader last Saturday, EIU fell 3-1 in an 11 a.m. tilt before righting the ship with a 3-1 win at 6 p.m.
Kaitlyn Flynn tops the list of Panther hitters this season with a total of 322 kills up to this point with five regular season OVC matches left. On the year, Flynn is the second most efficient hitter on the team with a .226 hitting percentage (Lilli Amettis leads the team with a .230). She has five matches this season with at least 20 kills, which leads all OVC attackers.
Christina Martinez Mundo holds down the number three spot in the OVC in digs per set with an average of 5.26. Martinez Mundo also sits in the number three spot in terms of total digs with 510. She is one of three liberos with at least 500 digs.
In the NCAA, Mundo ranks tied for fifth in total digs and 14th in digs per set. Eastern as a team ranks 76th in digs per set with an average of 15.51. They are second overall in the OVC in digs per set and are third in the OVC in total digs with 1401, just behind Tennessee State and SEMO. The Panthers are also 31st in the NCAA in team digs.
Kaitlyn Flynn stays at the top of the OVC rankings after her 37 kills against Tennessee State. She sits atop the conference in kills per set with an average of 4.35 kills per set. In the NCAA she ranks 17th in that category.
Giovana Larregui Lopez sits at second in kills per set just behind her teammate Flynn with an average of 3.72 kills per set (92nd in the NCAA). Lopez is also second in the OVC in service aces per set with an average of 0.45. Catalina Rochaix also makes an appearance on the list in assists with an average of 6.04 per set which is sixth in the OVC.
The Golden Eagles return to Cookeville to wrap up the 2022 regular season, playing host to UT Martin in a pair of matches next weekend. Tech will square off with the Skyhawks Friday, Nov. 11 at 6:00 p.m. CT and again at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12 for Senior Day.
Photo by Jim Dillon