The Golden Eagles will meet UT Martin on Friday, Murray State on Saturday
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Tech volleyball team showed all the promise that one would expect from a defending Ohio Valley Conference champion last weekend in the team's first conference action since capturing the 2008 title. However, the Golden Eagles struggled down the stretch of matches and would up winless in their first two contests this season at the Eblen Center.
The Golden Eagles will try to reverse their fortunes this week as they take on three OVC competitors on Tech's home floor, beginning with a match tonight against Jacksonville State. TTU will also take on UT Martin and Murray State this weekend.
A win against the Gamecocks would be a major confidence booster for the Golden Eagles as Jacksonville State (9-5, 2-0 OVC) enters Tuesday's match with a share of the conference lead after getting the best of the two teams that defeated Tech last weekend, Eastern Illinois and Southeast Missouri.
Both UT Martin and Murray State also tasted OVC victory last weekend as each team split matches on Friday and Saturday. The Skyhawks (6-5, 1-1 OVC) defeated Eastern Kentucky on Friday while the Racers (1-10, 1-1) picked up their first win of the season against that same EKU team on Saturday.
Despite sporting a 1-10 record so far this season, the Golden Eagles have reason to believe they will bounce back this week. Tech dominated the first two sets of its match against Southeast Missouri last weekend before falling in five sets to the team picked to finish third in the OVC. In the team's match on Saturday, Tech held large leads late in every set but could not come through down the stretch to close them out. Both games served as learning experiences for a TTU team who is just now starting to find their rhythm.
Freshman Kelsey Gray continued her excellent play last weekend, posting better than a .300 hitting percentage with at least eight kills both matches. The middle blocker tallied 15 kills with six blocks against SEMO and came back with an eight kill, two block performance against EIU in which she hit a season-best .412.
Gray's fellow middle blocker Marie Peddicord has also come on strong of late. After starting the season playing mostly on the right side, Peddicord has moved back to the position she excelled at in high school and has posted double-digit kills in two of her last four matches. The Columbus, Ind., native also had a season-high four blocks last weekend against Southeast Missouri.
Senior Katie Kenline continued her stellar backcourt play last weekend, averaging more than six digs per set as she finished the weekend with 49 saves in two matches. She also took one step closer to becoming the OVC's all-time leader in digs as she moved into fourth place with 2,086 digs.
The Golden Eagles take on JSU tonight at 7 p.m. before meeting UT Martin at 7 p.m. on Friday and Murray State at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Live stats are available for all threee matches through TTUsports.com, while web streaming of each contest is also available through OVCsports.com.