November 1, 2012

Tech Volleyball set to honor three seniors in final home weekend matches

 

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- The Golden Eagle volleyball team will play at home for the last time in the 2012 season Friday and Saturday in the Hooper-Eblen Center. Tech will host SIU Edwardsville Friday and  face Eastern Illinois on Saturday  while celebrating the careers of its three seniors. 

Prior to Saturday's match there will be a brief ceremony recognizing Tech's three seniors: Madison Comperry, Katrina Dvorken, and Kelsey Gray

Friday, Nov. 2
7:00 p.m. CT - Tech vs. SIUE 
Online Coverage: Live StatsLive Video

Saturday, Nov. 3
5:00 p.m. CT - Tech vs. Eastern Illinois
Online Coverage:
 Live StatsLive Video

 

GOLDEN EAGLE PREVIEW

 As the season draws closer to a close, Tech's defense continues to make ripples in the Ohio Valley Conference. Coming off a strong showing against top-seeded Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky, blocking phenom Kelsey Gray captured the attention of OVC and revealed why she is the best blocker in the conference when she turned in a 2.54 block per set performance over the weekend. Gray's spectacular play at the net snagged the senior Defensive Player of the Week honors.

For the weekend, the Golden Eagles registered 25 team blocks with Gray having a hand in 18 of them. Against undefeated Morehead State, Gray was a part of every Tech block. She had a career-high 10 block assists and a season-high 11 total blocks versus Eastern Kentucky. Gray averaged 2.54 blocks per set, and to put in perspective the greatness of her performance, the best blocker in Division I is currently averaging 1.74 blocks per set.

Gray is currently ranked first in the OVC with 1.54 blocks per set, placing her 10th in Division I, ahead of perennial powerhouses such as Stanford, Texas and Penn State.

Gray is not alone at the net. The Golden Eagles top the OVC with 2.55 blocks per set. Since returning to the court after a season delaying injury, Elise Robertson has been a force at the net. She has played in seven matches, and already accumulated 17 blocks, averaging .73 blocks per set. 

Offensively, the outside hitters remain the go-to attackers for the Golden Eagles. Natalie Penrod is averaging 2.05 kills per set and Ellen Conti and Audrey Lewis are right behind with 1.71 and 1.35 kills per set respectively. 

Madison Keyes turned in a great performance against Eastern Kentucky, finishing the match with a career high 10 kills. Keyes has been a major contributer at the net throughout the season, averaging 1.17 kills per set and .59 blocks per set. 

Madison Comperry and Ashleigh Hancock continue to run the Golden Eagles offense. Comperry averages 3.84 assists per set and adds 1.82 digs per set. Hancock is averaging 4.33 assists per set, and has collected 13 service aces so far this season. Courtney Smith continues to run the backcourt, averaging 5.15 digs per set.

As a team, Tech averages 9.35 kills, 14.22 digs, 2.55 blocks and 0.91 aces per set.


TECH (2-22, 0-12 OVC) vs. SIUE (8-15, 4-8 OVC)
The series is tied 1-1.  

 Since joinging the OVC in 2008, This will mark only the be third meeting between these two teams. Last season Tech defeated SIUE on their home court in five sets, but lost on the road in three sets. 

Scouting the Cougars

The Cougars are looking to end a two-match losing streak after back-to-back losses to SEMO and UT Martin last weekend.

As a team, SIUE averages 12.05 kills, 16.35 digs, 1.93 blocks and 1.18 aces per set.

The Cougars are lead by Emma Anderson, Kelsey Augustine and Kristen Torre. The trio all average over two kills per set, with Anderson leading the squad with 2.68 kills per set.

Last week SIUE went 0-2 falling to SEMO and UT Martin on the road. SEMO defeated SIUE 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-18). UT Martin also defeated the Cougars in five sets (27-25, 25-18, 22-25, 21-25, 15-13).


TECH vs. Eastern Illinois (8-19, 5-7 OVC)
Eastern Illinois leads the series 19-14. 

Tech lost in both meetings during the 2011 season. Both losses were in three sets. 

Scouting the Panthers

The Panthers finished last week 1-2, defeating SEMO but falling to UT Martin and IUPUI.

As a team, Tennessee State averages 12.47 kills, 14.04 digs, 1.92 blocks and 1.21 aces per set.

The Panthers are led offensively by Reynae Hutchinson who averages 2.62 kills per set. Defensively, Eastern Illinois looks to Kelsey Brooke and Stephanie Wallace. Brooke averages 3.27 digs per set with Wallace adding 2.93. 

Last weekend the Panthers went 1-1, defeating SEMO 3-2 (25-18, 13-25, 20-25, 25-17, 15-10) but falling to UT Martin 1-3 (22-25,22-25,25-20,22-25). The Panthers played Tuesday and lost to IUPUI in four sets (23-25, 25-20, 12-25, 27-29). 


LOOKING AHEAD: Tech hits the road next weekend, going up against Jacksonville State and Southeast Missouri for its final OVC roadtrip. Friday, the Golden Eagles will face the Gamecocks at 6 p.m. CDT and then take on the Redhawks Saturday at 2 p.m.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Senior Kelsey Gray caught the attention of the conference and revealed why she is the best blocker in the Ohio Valley Conference when she turned in a 2.54 block per set performance over the weekend. Gray's spectacular play at the net snagged the senior Defensive Player of the Week honors.

This marks the first time Gray, a 6-2 middle blocker, has earned adidas® OVC Defensive Player of the Week this season, but the second time she has been honored in her four-year career. Gray previously won the award her sophomore season after posting 10 blocks against Jacksonville State (10/15/2010).

For the weekend, the Golden Eagles registered 25 team blocks with Gray having a hand in 18 of them. Against undefeated Morehead State, Gray was a part of every Tech block. She had a career-high 10 block assists and a season-high 11 total blocks versus Eastern Kentucky. Gray averaged 2.54 blocks per set, and to put in perspective the greatness of her performance, the best blocker in Division I is currently averaging 1.74 blocks per set.

100 MILESTONES: Two Golden Eagles have reached the 100 kill mark this season, outside hitters Natalie Penrod and Ellen Conti and middle hitter Kelsey Gray have each reached the season milestone. Gray has accumulated 186 kills so far this season, Penrod has 131 kills and Conti has 118.

CAN YOU DIG IT? Courtney Smith currently ranks third in the conference with 5.15 digs per set. She has continued to top her career high's all season going from 17 digs in a match to 31 digs in a match. The greatest accomplishment was 30 digs in three sets against Jacksonville State on Sept. 25.

CONFERENCE ACTION: This season, with the addition of Belmont University to the conference, the OVC will break down into two regions, expanding tournament play to the top eight teams (from six in previous years). The winners of each division get automatic berths into the conference championship, while the seeding will be determined by winning percentage.

Tech will play in the East Division along with Belmont, Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State, Morehead State and Tennessee State. The West Division includes Austin Peay, Eastern Illinois, Murray State, Southeast Missouri, SIUE and UT Martin.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Kelsey Gray received her second All-Tournament selection this season at the Samford Bulldog Invitational. Gray had two double-digit performances in kills, 11 against Gardner-Webb and 14 against Alcorn State. She hit a whopping .462 attack percentage against Alcorn State. Gray put up a wall at the net, blocking just about every ball that went toward her.  Gray had seven solo blocks and 10 block assists over the weekend. Against Gardner-Webb, Gray had five solo blocks and four assists forcing GW's top player to have three straight errors, and to be pulled from the match.  Gray's blocking effort held opponents to a .161 attack percentage, the lowest of any tournament this season.

Natalie Penrod was selected to the Western Kentucky all-tournament team, marking her second all-tournament honor this season. Returning to her home state of Kentucky, Penrod earned all-tournament honors in a five-team tournament with opponents like #10 Dayton and Ohio State. Penrod led Tech with 22 kills despite facing a triple block most of the weekend. Penrod was responsible for 25 of Tech's 99 points, and a third of Tech's total offense.

Gray earned a spot on her first all-tournament team at the Xavier Invitational. Gray hit an outstanding .667 against Xavier. She recorded nine kills, leading the team. Against the second best team in the Big East, Marquette, Gray had eight terminations, again leading the team and hit .500. As a middle, Gray hit above and beyond against three top-tier teams.

Penrod netted all-tournament honors at the Country Inns & Suites Invitational hosted by UT Chattanooga. Penrod recorded 35 kills (3.89 k/s), hitting at a .260 clip.

Prior to the 2012 season, 56 Golden Eagles have earned all-tournament honors, dating back to 1994. 

RECORD BREAKING SEASON: Tech opened the 2012 season at the Country Inns & Suites Invitational and set the first record of the season. The Golden Eagles didn't allow a single block against Alcorn State, tying the Golden Eagle team record for fewest total blocks allowed.

SENIORS: There are three seniors leading the 2012 squad. Madi ComperryKatrina Dvorken and Kelsey Gray lead the Golden Eagles and are looking to get back to the OVC tournament. The trio has a career record 26-63. They have accumulated four tournament wins and appeared in two OVC tournaments.

HEAD COACH: John Blair continues his reign as head coach by reaching the decade mark, becoming only the second coach in Tech history to do so.

During the 2011 season, Blair reached another milestone, earning his 100th victory at UT Chattanooga in a five-set thriller. Blair has had continued success since he lead the Golden Eagles to a conference championship in 2008, making it to the OVC tournament four out of the past five seasons.

Blair earned his 69th OVC victory last season when the Golden Eagles defeated Eastern Kentucky on November 11. Blair now has 373 wins after 27 years as a head coach, including 104 career wins at Tennessee Tech, making him the third winningest coach in program history.

CATCH THE GOLDEN EAGLES: Fans can catch Live stats via PrestoSports Prime Time via Tennessee Tech here. For conference play, games will be broadcasted on the Ohio Valley Conference Digital Network here.

OVC DIGITAL NETWORK: The Ohio Valley Conference has launched the OVC Digital Network the new and improved home for live streaming of athletic contests involving OVC member institutions, including Tennessee Tech.
The Conference is entering its seventh year of web streaming athletic contests, and this investment in improved quality, rebranding and launch of the Digital Network coincides with the OVC's partnership with SIDEARM Sports (SAS), which debuted as the new OVCSports.com in July and is the host of the OVC Digital Network.

SOCIAL NETWORK: Like TTU Sports on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to get updates on the Golden Eagle volleyball team this season. Both sites will be updated live during matches this year.