Tech defense keeps Xavier at bay, but can't hold off Marquette

Tech defense keeps Xavier at bay, but can't hold off Marquette

CINCINNATI, Ohio -- In the first day of competition at the Xavier Invitational, Tennessee Tech faced two top-tier opponents and fell twice. The Golden Eagles knew they would be facing top competition coming into this weekend's tournament, but this may have been a little more than just a "tough opponent".

Tech opened the afternoon against Xavier and despite being defeated in three sets, the Golden Eagle defense was not willing to fall without a fight.

Set scores were 14-25, 15-25, and 19-25.

Tech outdug the Musketeers, 43-40. Libero Courtney Smith sprawled for 14 digs, holding Xavier's offense at an average .287. Tech also put up five blocks at the net. 

Kelsey Gray led the Golden Eagle offense with nine kills and an outstanding .667 attack percentage. Gray anchored the net, assisting in two blocks and one solo block. 

Junior outside Natalie Penrod faced a triple-blocking effort, but was able to sneak five kills by. Madison Keyes also chipped in with five kills on 12 swings.

Marquette hit an imposing .319 for the match burying 44 kills on 98 swings, and posted a 3-0 win. Set scores were 14-25, 19-25, and 13-25. 

Tech hit .066 for the match, logging just 25 kills. The Golden Eagles were paced by seniors Katrina Dvorken and Gray with eight kills each, while four other players had two kills. Ellen Conti was one of those players, and also helped Tech at the net with one solo block. 

The Golden Eagles were led defensively by Smith with 11 digs, while freshman Audrey Lewis followed with seven. Setters Ashleigh Hancock and Madi Compery each chipped in three and four digs respectively. Hancock dished out 14 assists, Comperry seven. 

Marquette's Danielle Carlson led all attackers with 13 kills on 19 swings, hitting .632. Marquette outblocked Tech 7.0 to 3.0 with two leading players each contributing five block assists.

The Golden Eagles return to the court Saturday at 1 pm CT. Links to Live stats can be found here.