By Jocelyn VerVelde, Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech volleyball team suffered a setback at the hands of Tennessee State Friday night, as the Golden Eagles were downed 25-16, 25-17, 25-17.
The Golden Eagles were unable to find an offensive rhythm Friday night as TSU out-hit them with 35 kills, and a hitting percentage of .230, compared with Tech's 29 kills and a hitting percentage of .048. Defensively, the two squads put up equal numbers at 44 total digs and five team blocks each.
The night did not start in the Golden Eagles' favor as they opened up set one down, 5-1. The Tigers never relinquished the lead. Despite a six-point serving run by Courtney Smith, which brought the team within nine, the Tech squad was unable to make the gap any smaller, and dropped the set, 25-16.
Set two looked promising as the Golden Eagles maintained a tie with TSU through the first part of the set. However, ill-timed Tech errors and TSU's ability to keep the serve gave the Tigers another lead they would not give up. Tennessee State won set two 25-17.
Out of the intermission, the Golden Eagles could not shake the Tigers as TSU opened on a 9-2 run. Despite a late surge where Tech was able to narrow the lead to seven, Tennessee State closed out the match with a 25-17 win in set three.
Despite offensive woes, the Golden Eagles saw senior Natalie Penrod register a team-high 10 kills, while senior Ashleigh Hancock put up 26 assists. Juniors Courtney Smith and Allison May cleaned up the backcourt as they had 17 and 10 digs, respectively.
The Tigers were led by junior Naomi Wells, who tallied a match-high 13 kills, while hitting .346, and by senior setter Erika Moss, who put up 28 assists and led the Tigers to a team hitting percentage of .230. Junior Sherryce Butler added 10 kills and junior libero Ileanushka Maldonado recorded a match-high 18 digs.
Tech will look to bounce back Saturday afternoon as it hosts Belmont at 2 p.m. CDT in the Eblen Center.