MARTIN, Tenn. - They knew what was needed, and they did it.
The Tennessee Tech volleyball team went to Martin, Tenn., Friday and came away with a 3-1 victory to clinch at least a share of the Ohio Valley Conference regular season title. By virtue of the OVC tie-breaker, the Golden Eagles have also clinched the No. 1 seed -- no matter the outcome of Saturday's match at Murray State -- and will host the OVC Tournament, Nov. 20-22.
It is the first regular season crown for the Golden Eagles since 1983.
The first set got off to a rocky start with the Golden Eagles needing to take a time out down, 6-1. But going on a small rally of its own, Tech scored 14 of the next 19 points to jump out to a four-point lead.
Holding onto a two-point lead, Tech hit into some errors and allowed the Skyhawks back into the set at 21-21. The Golden Eagles finished strong and claimed the next four points to earn the first set win, 25-21.
With a small amount of weight off their shoulders, Tech got into a rhythm in the second set.
After UT Martin claimed the first two points, the Golden Eagles came back and outscored the host team two-to-one the rest of the set.
With Tech up 21-12, the Golden Eagles went up 24-12 before two Skyhawks kills brought the lead down to 10. Meeding just one more point, Tech forced a hitting error by UT Martin and earned a 2-0 set lead heading into the intermission.
Using their home court advantage, the Skyhawks were able to turn the tides in the third set, claiming a 25-18 set win. The Golden Eagles were held to the lowest hitting percentage in a set during the third frame, while the Skyhawks had their highest.
In the fourth set, the score went back and fourth before the Golden Eagles were able to hold on to a small lead. Knowing that the title was close at hand, Tech put the brakes on the Skyhawk offense and claimed the match-winning set, 25-18.
Senior Kappy Lang ran the offense for the Golden Eagles with 37 assists and 16 digs. On the defense, junior Katie Kenline supported the blockers with 10 digs. Tech got double-figure kills from three players, led by Leah Meffert with 16 along with 10 digs. Jess Asplund had 12 kills along with nine total blocks, while Amanda Lindgren added 11 kills.
Tech (17-10, 14-3 OVC) still has one more match this weekend before returning home to host the OVC Tournament. They will travel to Murray State for the final regular season match Saturday at 2 p.m. A Tech victory would clinch the title outright.