Tech sweeps Demons to close first day at Samford Invitational

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. − Freshman outside hitter Natalie Penrod led the way for the Golden Eagles with 21 kills as Tennessee Tech split its first two matches of the Samford Invitational including a 3-0 sweep of Northwestern State Friday. 

The Golden Eagles took no prisoners in its second match of the day as they completed their first sweep of the season over Northwestern State by the scores of 25-22, 25-21 and 25-14.
 
TTU had a fantastic defensive performance against the Demons as it compiled 16 total blocks, and no blocking errors, which led to a -.009 hitting percentage for Northwestern State. 
 
“We were much more aggressive against Northwestern State,” head coach John Blair said. “The communication was much better as well.”
 
Penrod set the tone for the Golden Eagles as she tallied career-highs in kills and digs with 12. Senior outside hitter Leah Meffert added 10 kills and 12 digs for another double-double on the season, while senior setter Melanie Culp added a game-high 29 assists.
 
“Every week Natalie is becoming more comfortable in our system,” Blair said. “She keeps improving from week to week.”
 
TTU began the day with a 3-1 loss to Syracuse. The Golden Eagles came out firing on all cylinders as they took the first set 25-20. Caught off guard early, Syracuse rebounded to take the next three sets by the scores of 25-12, 25-21 and 25-15.
 
Meffert, Penrod and senior middle blocker Marie Pedicord kept the Golden Eagle offense balanced as they each chipped in nine kills, while Culp recorded 26 assists.
 
Tennessee Tech wraps up the Samford Invitational tomorrow as it takes on the North Texas Mean Green at noon and the host Samford Bulldogs at 3 p.m.