BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- The final score may have reflected a three-set sweep, but play was far from minimal when Tennessee Tech challenged host Western Kentucky Friday afternoon to open the Lady 'Topper Invitational. The Golden Eagles came out swinging against an opponent that is on a seven-match win streak, there were seven lead changes and the score was tied 12 times as underdog Tech refused to let any point go unearned.
WKU prevailed by set scores of 25-20, 25-18 and 25-13, but the Golden Eagles found some positive features in the loss.
Defensively, the Golden Eagles held WKU below its season attack average. The Lady 'Toppers hit .200, recording 22 hitting errors, nine of those errors forced by the Tech block at the net.
The Golden Eagles out-blocked the Lady Toppers, 9-6, with senior Kelsey Gray leading the stand with two solo blocks and four block assists. Newcomer Cody Dodd set up the block on the outside, assisting in two blocks, and knocking down a solo block.
Tech had it's best offensive performance since opening the season at UT Chattanooga two weeks ago. Tech hit just below its season average of 9.8 kills/set, averaging eight kills. In last weekend's tournament, the Golden Eagles averaged an .055 clip. The Golden Eagle attack spread offenses to several hitters, including pinhitters Natalie Penrod, Ellen Conti and Dodd, who all hit above the .200 mark.
Penrod led the Golden Eagles with nine terminations, recording only two errors. Conti chipped in with eight kills.
Tech returns to competition Saturday at the Western Kentucky Tournament, facing IUPUI at 10 a.m. before rounding out play at the tournament against No. 10 Dayton at 3 p.m.