By Rob Schabert, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Junior Ellen Conti and sophomore Cody Dodd each hit for a solid percentage and put down 11 kills, and the Tennessee Tech volleyball team ignored a 2-0 deficit to show some fight Friday night at Belmont, but the Golden Eagles couldn't muster enough firepower to prevent the host Bruins from winning their fifth straight set, 3-1, in the Curb Event Center.
Belmont improved to 6-3 in OVC play and 13-12 overall, getting a match-high 12 kills from Jocelyn Youngdahl and 11 from Scarlet Gable to offset a spirited effort by the visitors. Tech had 10 service aces and 10 total blocks, but hit .118 for the match and allowed 16 aces by Belmont, two factors that helped sabotage the effort.
The Bruins went on a 6-0 run midway in the first set to take a 13-5 lead before Tech silenced the run. It was only momentary, however, as Belmont found a way to extend its lead, winning the first set, 25-13.
The Bruins opened an 11-3 lead in set two before the Golden Eagles pieced together a 5-0 run to come within two, 17-15. Tech kept the set close, but Belmont ended the set, 25-20, behind a kill from Youngdahl as the Bruins took a 2-0 lead at the break.
Belmont hit .258 in the first two sets, holding TTU to a .071.
After the break, Belmont jumped out to a 5-1 lead dbefore Tech tied set three at 7-7 and took its first lead of the night, 8-7. The teams exchanged points, befor a 4-0 Golden Eagle run gave coach Dave Zelenock's team a 16-11 lead. Once again, the teams exchanged points, reaching a 24-24 deadlock, before the Golden Eagles tacked on the final two points for a 26-24 victory.
Tech maintained its momentum to start set four, jumping out a 9-6 lead before Belmont began to chip away at the difference. A TTU attack error allowed Belmont to tie the set at 14-14 and a kill from Youngdahl gave the Bruins a 15-14 lead.
Once again, the teams exchanged points before the Bruins closed out the match on a service ace to claim the point and the match, 25-20.
Conti finished with 11 kills and a .323 hitting mark, making just one error in 31 swings. She also had two aces, eight digs and three blocks. Dodd hit .259 on the way to her 11 kills, and also posted four service aces. Madison Keyes led the effort at the net with a match-best six blocks, while Courtney Smith finished with 18 digs in the back row, tops in the match.
The Golden Eagles get back to friendly surroundings next weekend when they host Morehead State on Friday night and Eastern Kentucky Saturday afternoon.