COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- The Golden Eagle volleyball team kicked off homecoming weekend in style, downing the SIU Edwardsville Cougars 3-1 in Ohio Valley Conference action Friday night. Tech narrowly won the first and third sets before ambushing the Cougars in the fourth set.
Set scores were 25-23, 24-26, 29-27 and 25-13.
The match was led by freshman pinhitters Cody Dodd and Audrey Lewis, providing a glimpse of what the future of Tech volleyball has in store. Dodd had a match- and career-high 14 kills on 26 swings, recording just one error, giving her a career-best .500 attack percentage. Lewis also turned in a career-high performance, tallying 12 kills with just three errors on 28 swings and a .321 attack perccentage.
"What we saw from Cody and Audrey was what we knew they were capable of all along," said head coach John Blair. "Every match this season, we've seen bits and pieces of this type of play, with bits and pieces of greatness, but what makes the future of Tech volleyball so exciting is there is still room for growth with these two."
Two other hitters totaled double-digit kills, Ellen Conti had 12 and Kelsey Gray swung .297 for 11 kills on 30 swings and three errrors. Madison Keyes and Elise Robertson each chipped in with six kills.
"I thought our setters did a good job of distributing the ball tonight, and still had a few more opportunities for more kills which is a testament to this team.
Junior setter Ashleigh Hancock dished out 31 assists and fellow setter Madison Comperry handed out 23 assists. The pair ran an offense that had an attack percentage of .243, the highest percentage the Golden Eagles have hit in OVC action. Tech also collected a total of 61 kills, the team's most terminations in the 2012 season.
Courtney Smith sprawled for a match high 31 digs, also marking the third time she has recorded 30+ digs this season, tying her career high. Conti added 18 digs, giving her a double-double for the match.
"We've been seeing that type of productivity from her all year. She just continues to improve. She's really starting to take charge and fill the role that the libero position requires."
Tech again out-blocked its oppontent, gathering 10 team blocks, with the 10th best blocker in the NCAA, Gray, leading the match with six blocks, two solo and four block assists. Dodd collected three blocks of her own with Keyes, Lewis and Robertson each adding two blocks.
"The hole that we've put ourselves in, it would have been easy to just walk away, and never look back, but these girls refuse to do that. They come to work hard every day and they've come to play every day."
The match was an exciting one, with 28 tie scores and 10 different lead changes throughout the four sets. The Golden Eagles picked up their first win in the first set 25-23. The second set went to the Cougars in extra points. After the break, the Golden Eagles jumped back out to another victory again in extra points, but the fourth set proved that Tech was the better team.
Tech jumped to an early 10-1 lead in the fourth set, breaking a 1-1 tie with a 9-0 run, and going on to a 24-9 lead. SIUE was able to hold off match-point for four points before finishing the set 25-13.
The Golden Eagles return to the court Saturday afternoon when they host Eastern Illinois at 5 p.m. It will be the final home match for Tech as the team honors its three seniors in a special presentation.