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August 29, 2009

Tech drops first two matches at Lady Vol Classic

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Tech volleyball team opened its 2009 season on Saturday afternoon at the 2009 Lady Vol Classic with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-9, 25-14)  loss to tournament-host Tennessee. Later in their second match of the day, the Golden Eagles again fell 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-22), this time to Lipscomb.

In the first match, senior outside hitter Amanda Lindgren led the way for the Golden Eagles, posting 14 kills on 31 attempts. Juniors Leah Meffert and Marie Peddicord finished with seven and five kills, respectively.

Freshmen Kelsey Gray and Madison Comperry both made solid debuts in the first match of their collegiate careers. Gray tallied four kills and a match-high four blocks, while Comperrry dished out 11 assists.

Junior setter Melanie Culp led the team with 15 assists and also contributed seven digs. Reigning OVC Defensive Player of the Year Katie Kenline posted a match-high 18 digs in the loss.

"I'm disappointed, but we showed life at times," said head coach John Blair. "We'll learn from this match and continue to get better."

After falling behind 11-5 in the first set, the Golden Eagles scored three consecutive points to cut the lead to 11-8. The Lady Vols answered with three straight points of their own before Tech looked to Lindgren to keep the team in the set.

Lindgren pounded three of the next four Tech kills as the Golden Eagles found themselves down 21-15 late in the set. However, Tech went on a five-point run highlighted by two kills and block by Peddicord. With the score 22-20, the teams traded points until a Tennessee block finished the set, 25-22, in favor of the Lady Vols.

The Golden Eagles began the second set strong and found themselves tied 5-5 before the Lady Vols went on a four-point run to take a 9-5 advantage. Tennesee then put together runs of seven and six points before closing out the set, 25-9.

Using early kills from Meffert, Lindgren and Peddicord, Tech jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the third set. However, Tennessee scored eight of the next nine points to go ahead for good. With the score 15-9 Tennessee, Tech mounted a comeback as Gray and Peddicord teamed for a pair of back-to-back blocks that brought Tech back to within four, 16-12. The Lady Vols scored the next six points and sealed the match, 25-14, with their 47th kills of the match.

For the match, Tech hit .131, while Tennessee hit at a .380 clip. Tennessee also held the edge in digs (47-41) and blocks (eight-four).

The Golden Eagles struggled to start their second match of the day against Lipscomb, falling behind 10-2 before going on a three-point run to cut the deficit to five. Tech chipped away and was within two points at 13-11, but that is as close at TTU would get as the Lady Bisons went on a 12-3 run to close out the opening set. Meffert and Lindgren each posted four kills and added a block in the set.

With the score 14-12 Lipscomb in the second set, the Lady Bisons scored six of the next seven points to take a commanding 20-13 lead. The teams traded points and Tech fended off a pair of match points before a Lipscomb kill gave them the set.

Tech fell behind early in the third set, 6-9, but regrouped thanks to a pair of kills by Meffert to even the score at 10-10. The set went back and forth as neither team led by more than one point until Lipscomb scored three straight points to go ahead 21-18. The teams again exchanged points until with the score 24-20 Lipscomb, the Golden Eagles got kills from Kenline and Meffert before a TTU error ended the match.

In the second match, Meffert and Lindgren again led the team as both players tallied double-doubles. Meffert finished with 13 kills and 11 digs, while Lindgren added 10 kills and 11 digs. Culp led Tech with 27 assists, and freshman Katrina Dvorken finished with a team-high three blocks.

The Golden Eagles return to action tomorrow, August 30 when they take on Western Kentucky in their final match of the Lady Vol Classic. Game time is set for 10 a.m.