Golden Eagles wear down the Tribe, pick up first victory of the season
Tech plays final match of tournament tonight at 6 p.m.
BOONE, N.C. - Down two sets to none and on the verge of losing for fifth time in row to begin the season, the Tennessee Tech volleyball team fought back against William & Mary to capture its first victory of the season at the Appalachian State Invitational. The Golden Eagles went to five sets for the second match in a row as they earned the 3-2 (23-25, 22-25, 25-23, 25-19, 15-7) win at the Holmes Center.
"That was a good match against a good team," said John Blair, head coach of the Golden Eagles. "There's some pressure off of us now, and it's good that our first win came against a quality opponent."
A true team effort, the Golden Eagles (1-4) collectively raised their level of play to give the Tribe (4-2) their second loss of the season.
"We were really consistent and got a little higher performance level out of everyone on the floor," Blair said. "It was just a glimpse of what we are capable of doing."
A major difference throughout the match came at the service line where TTU recorded seven aces and just four errors compared to four aces and 14 errors for the Tribe.
"They tried to serve aggressively to get us out of our system," Blair said. "But we served very well against them and were able to get them out of their system."
The first two sets of the match were mirror images of one another as the teams played to a 16-16 tie before William & Mary made a late run to take the lead and eventually the set.
However, the Tech flipped the script on the Tribe in the third set. William & Mary led 13-10 when junior Leah Meffert helped even the score with a kill followed by an ace. The Golden Eagles went on to score three of the next four points to take a 16-14 lead. The Tribe answered with a run of their own as they evened the score at 19-19. The teams played even until 23-23 when senior Amanda Lindgren put down back-to-back kills to give TTU the win, 25-23.
The Golden Eagles looked like they were in trouble in the fourth set as a William & Mary kill made the score 14-10 in their favor. Behind the serving of senior Teresa Craig, Tech scored eight of the next nine points to go ahead 18-15 on a kill by Lindgren. The Tribe kept it close at 19-18, but the Golden Eagles capitalized on three William & Mary errors down the stretch to close out the set, 25-19.
Tech wasted no time taking control of the fifth set as a pair of kills by freshman Kelsey Gray helped to give the team an early 5-1 lead. The Tribe crept within one at 6-5, but a kill by Craig and solo block by Lindgren started a four-point run that gave TTU a 10-5 advantage. The Tribe scored to slim the deficit to four, but Tech answered with five of the next six points to take the set, 15-7.
Senior Katie Kenline led all players with 32 digs, while Gray and junior Marie Peddicord each tallied three blocks.
Lindgren posted her second double-double of the season, finishing with 12 kills and 14 digs, and Meffert tied for the match high with 17 kills. Gray posted double-digit kills for the first time in her young career as she finished with 11 and a .280 hitting percentage. Craig had a solid game all around, tallying 12 digs, nine kills, two blocks and a .389 hitting percentage.
Tech returns to action tonight at 6 p.m. against Appalachian State in what could be the championship match of the tournament depending on the result of the Mountaineers match with North Florida this afternoon.
"The situation now is that we might have a chance to win the tournament tonight," Blair said. "If that is the case, it would certainly be a nice reward for our players."