Golden Eagles claim first win, top Belmont 3-1 in Eblen Center

Golden Eagles claim first win, top Belmont 3-1 in Eblen Center

Only home match for nearly a month

View comments from coach John Blair and senior Melanie Culp

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- It took the Tennessee Tech volleyball team the entire first set to find its rhythm, but the Golden Eagles finally got the beat and swept the next three sets for a 3-1 non-conference victory Tuesday night over Belmont University in Eblen Center.

It was Tech's first home match of the season -- the only home contest for the Golden Eagles for nearly a month -- and gave coach John Blair's team (1-3) its first win of the season.

"In the second set we started to find ourselves and do the things we've been practicing," Blair said. "We're in the right column. Belmont was a good team. We were glad to be at home. We had a nice crowd. They got behind us early and stayed with us the entire match."

Maggie Johnson helped the Bruins (2-2) roll to a 25-16 win in the first set, as the visitors appeared to have set the tone for the evening. But the Golden Eagles took control early in the second set and hung on for a narrow 25-22 victory to tie things at the break.

The third set was the closest of the night before the Golden Eagles prevailed, 25-23. With a 2-1 lead, Tech seemed to play with more confidence and built a commanding lead in the fourth set before wrapping things up with a 25-17 decision.

"We controlled the ball a little better," Blair said. "I thought Mel Culp did a nice job executing the offense a little better. We had some individual players who I thought played more consistently."

Culp, the senior setter and team captain, had 36 assists and 16 digs, her second double-double of the season.

"It felt really good to finally finish and win," Culp said. "It was a tough match but we came together. Being on the home court didn't hurt at all, with a lot of fans. The support was really nice."

Senior Leah Meffert also posted her second double-double of the year, leading Tech with 16 kills and adding 11 digs. Senior Marie Peddicord was the most effective hitter on the front line Tuesday, posting a .375 hitting percentage with nine kills and no errors. She also topped Tech with three total blocks.

Freshman libero Allison May led the defensive numbers with 21 digs.

Johnson posted a double-double to lead Belmont, collecting 23 kills and 12 digs. She was the primary attacker for the Bruins, getting 68 swings. Kayla Albritton had eight kills along with 10 digs while Tara Blood had seven kills and a stout .316 hitting percentage. Defensively, five Bruins hit double digits in digs, led by libero Megan Clements with 2

Tech's next action is in Birmingham, Ala., this weekend when the Golden Eagles play four matches in the Samford Invitational.