COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Tech volleyball team extended its season-best winning streak to five straight on Saturday afternoon as the Golden Eagles defeated visiting Morehead State, 3-1 (25-22, 25-14, 18-25, 25-18), at the Eblen Center. The win keeps Tech in fourth place in the conference but moves the team one game closer to third-place Morehead State.
TTU hit extremely well in the first two sets of Saturday's match, finishing with .300 and .567 hitting percentages, respectively. The Golden Eagles (8-12, 7-4 OVC) hit a bump in the third set when the Eagles (15-7, 8-3 OVC) made the match 2-1, but Tech responded with a strong fourth set to secure its eighth victory of the season.
"This was a really important win for us," said senior Katie Kenline. "Morehead is ahead of us in the standings, so it was big to get a win."
After winning the first set, 25-22, Tech dominated play in the second set. The Golden Eagles jumped out to an 8-3 lead and then used a five-point burst behind the serving of junior Melanie Culp to go ahead, 14-7. TTU would cruise from there as junior Leah Meffert and senior Amanda Lindgren each finished with six kills in the set. Senior Teresa Craig added four kills with a .800 hitting percentage.
Tech was a bit sluggish in dropping the third stanza after the second set break, but the Golden Eagles pulled away late in the fourth set to secure the match. With the score 17-16 in favor of Tech, the Golden Eagles went on an 8-2 run down the stretch and captured the win on Lindgren's 14th kill of the match.
"We came out to play," Kenline said. "We had a game plan and were able to execute it. We really played well together as a team."
The Golden Eagles, who hit .270 as a team, were led by Meffert's 15 kills and along with Lindgren (14), Craig (11), Kelsey Gray (9) and Marie Peddicord (8) combined for 57 kills.
Craig and Gray both set career highs in hitting percentage on Saturday. Craig finished with 11 kills on 18 attempts with just one error for a .556 hitting percentage, while Gray put down nine balls on 17 attempts without an error to hit at a .529 clip.
Kenline led the Golden Eagle defense that out-dug the Eagles, 84-70. Libero finished with 27 saves for her 18th consecutive match with double-digit digs, while Culp (14), Meffert (12) and Laura Pierce (11) also each had 10-or-more digs.
"We played well on defense and forced many long rallies because we dug the ball well as a team," Kenline said.
Culp finished with a match-high 45 assists to go along with her 14 digs for her second double-double in as many nights. Meffert also had a double-double - her 14th of the season.
Gray led Tech with four blocks, while Peddicord and Meffert each notched three.
The Golden Eagles return to action next weekend as they travel to Murray State on Friday and UT Martin on Saturday.