By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
CHARLESTON, Ill. – Yet another stellar showing on both sides of the ball lifted the Tennessee Tech volleyball team to a 3-1 victory at Eastern Illinois (14-13, 8-7) Friday evening, as the Golden Eagles (15-12, 12-3) delivered a spectacular comeback in the fourth set to seal the team's ninth straight win.
Head coach Jeannette Phillips' squad now owns the longest conference winning streak in school history, breaking the previous mark of eight set by the 1983 team. The Golden Eagles are now one win away from posting the second-longest winning streak in program history and three away from tying the 1983 squad's record of 12 straight.
It took a thrilling, fourth-set comeback to post the record-breaking win, with Tech battling back from a pair of decent deficits. The Golden Eagles trailed 14-10 in the final set, but they closed the gap. The Panthers pushed the lead back to four at 22-18, but the purple and gold never gave up, even facing set point at 24-21.
Tech delivered three straight points to square the set, earning the tying marker after a successful challenge by Phillips. Right side Morgan Gish and middle blocker Skylar Boom picked up one of the team's 17 total blocks in the match on the point.
EIU pulled back in front at 25-24, prompting a timeout by Phillips to settle the troops. It worked, as the Golden Eagles squared things back up and never gave up the lead again, eventually securing a 28-26 decision.
It was a big set for middle blocker Taylor Dorsey, as she dropped six of her team-high 14 kills to help the Tech effort. She chipped in a pair of block assists as well, adding to the team's six in the set.
The Golden Eagles opened the match with a statement, blocking five Panther attacks for a 25-14 win. Tech hit a whopping .400 as a team, totaling 10 kills.
In set two, Eastern Illinois just outhit the purple and gold, producing 17 kills on .571 efficiency. Tech showed strong results as well, posting 13 kills on a .360 attack, but fell just short in a 25-21 loss.
The third set put the Golden Eagles back on top for good, with the Cookeville crew delivering 14 kills and three blocks while holding EIU to just an .091 attack. Tech took the set 25-21.
Dorsey made some personal history on the night as well, registering her 500th career block in the first set to put Tech up 5-4 and in the lead for good. The senior also became the first Golden Eagle in program history to record more than 1,000 kills and 500 total blocks.
She finished the evening with 14 terminations and six blocks. Upping the ante at the block party was fellow middle blocker Skylar Boom, recording the third-most block assists in a four-set match in the rally-scoring era by a Golden Eagle. Her 10 rejections paired nicely with her seven kills.
Outside hitter Madolyn Isringhausen dropped in 12 kills and 10 digs for her eighth double-double or better (she turned in a triple-double on Oct. 28 against Little Rock). Gish enjoyed a special night, piling up a career-high nine blocks while adding eight kills to the effort.
The Golden Eagles will square off with the Panthers again Saturday afternoon in a 4:00 p.m. CT tilt at Lantz Arena.
File photo by Emily Armstrong