COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Purple Pride is spreading through the
Tech campus faster than middle hitter Kelsey Gray can put a ball
down on a quick attack, and the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles need
all the support they can get. The team travels to Cincinnati to
take on three top-tier programs at the Xavier Invitational this
weekend. Tech faces Xavier, Marquette and head coach John Blair's
former team, Ole Miss. The Golden Eagles beat Alcorn State last
weekend, picking up their first opening tournament win since 2008.
That season was also the year Tech won the OVC tournament
championship, and the Golden Eagles are hoping to have the same
fate later this season.
Tech opened their season last weekend at UT Chattanooga. The
Golden Eagles went 1-2, and picked up a win in a season-opener for
the first time since 2008. Junior outside Natalie
Penrod led the Golden Eagles in kills in every match over the
weekend. Penrod was named to the Country Inns & Suites
All-tournament team, the only Tech player to do so. Penrod's
kills/set would have placed her on top of the OVC leaders board
last season as she averaged 3.89 kills/set. Penrod will be joined
at the net by seniors Katrina Devorkin and Kelsey
Gray. The two middles started all 9 sets, and Gray turned in 19
kills on the weekend, averaging 2.11 kills/set and also led the
team with eight blocks. Devorken swung .353 on the weekend adding
Defensively Tech will rely heavily on sophomore libero Courtney Smith. Smith would have fallen third with 5.33
digs/set on last years OVC Individual Leaders List. This was Smiths
first time stepping into the Libero role, replacing Tech's leader
Allison May who is out due to injury. The 5-3 Libero
exploded onto the scene, leading Tech in Digs and held a .890 serve
reception percentage after being targeted by all three opposing
teams. May will be traveling with the team this weekend, making the
defensive duo a tough backcourt to beat.
Two Golden Eagle setters will split time leading the offense. Madi Comperry and Ashleigh Hancock will both dishing out assists, running
a 6-2 offense, giving Tech the advantage of always having three
hitters readily available at the net. Both turned in a 40+ assist
performance last weekend for an aggressive offense that gave a .223
attack percentage performance.
Tech's two newcomers both saw significant action last weekend.
Cody Dodd opened her collegiate career as a starter,
recording seven kills. Audrey Lewis played in five of Tech's nine matches and
collected the first three digs of her career.
TECH VS. XAVIER
This will be the seventh meeting between Tech and Xavier, and the
Musketeers lead the series 5-1. 2004 was the last meeting between
the two teams, and Xavier walked away with a 3-0 victory.
Scouting the Musketeers Xavier posted a 21-11 record last season and finished
second in the Atlantic 10 Conference. They return five starters and
libero from last year and boast four newcomers. Stephanie Vorherr,
libero, is a three-time A-10 Libero of the Year. Offensively Xavier
is led by Sarah Brown and Alex Smith. Brown averages 2.86 k/s and
Smith averages 2.57 kills per set.
Last weekend Xavier went 2-1, beating South Caraolina State 3-0
(25-18, 25-21, 25-11) and Coastal Carolina 3-2 (25-19, 25-21,
21-25, 22-25, 15-9), but losing to Clemson 0-3 (18-25, 15-25,
TECH VS. MARQUETTE
This is the first meeting for Tech and Marquette.
Scouting the Golden Eagles
Marquette is picked to finish second in the Big East Conference.
They are coming of the best season in program history finishing
second in the Big East in 2011.
Setter Elizabeth Koberstein leads the BIG EAST with 11.86
assists per set, while outside hitter Lindsey Gosh leads the league
in service aces (1.14/set). Marquette also leads the conference as
a team with 13.57 assists and ranks second in hitting percentage
(.230), kills (13.86) and service aces (1.71).
Last weekend Marquette went 1-1, beating Bowling Green 3-0
(25-20, 25-21, 25-19) but losing to Northwestern 1-3 (25-22, 21-25,
TECH VS. OLE MISS
The Golden Eagles have faced the Revels seven times, and Ole Miss
holds a perfect record, sweeping Tech 7-0. The last time Tech faced
Ole Miss was in 1988. The match went to five sets, but the Rebels
held a slight edge, winning 3-2.
Scouting the Rebels
The Rebels went 1-2 at the Hurricane Invitational last weekend,
defeating Samford between a pair of five-set losses to Miami (Fla.)
and Wofford. Setter Amanda Philpot averaged 37.0 assists, 12 digs
and seven kills.
LOOKING AHEAD: Tech continues it's stretch on
the road traveling to Bowling Green for a tournament at Western
Kentucky. The Golden Eagles will face three squads, opening the
tournament against host Western Kentucky on Friday. Saturday, Tech
will play two games. The Golden Eagles will take on IUPUI in the
morning, and end the day against Dayton.
CATCH THE GOLDEN EAGLES: Fans can catch Live
stats via Gametracker here. Against Xavier fans will also be able
to watch the match on GoXavier.com here.
SOCIAL NETWORKING: 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.
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
SENIORS: There are three seniors leading the
2012 squad. Madi Comperry, Katrina Dvorken
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 two OVC
RECORD BREAKING SEASON: Tech opened the 2012
season at the Country Inns & Suites Invitational and set the
first record of the season. Tech didn't allow a single block
against Alcorn State, tieing the Golden Eagle Team Record for
Fewest Total Blocks Allowed