Close matches mark first day of Kennesaw Invitational
By Jocelyn VerVelde, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
KENNESAW, Ga. - The Tennessee Tech volleyball team played hard all day Friday as they went to extra points in two of their sets, losing in five to host Kennesaw State and falling in four to Coastal Carolina.
Close call with Kennesaw
Down 0-2 to open the match, The Tennessee Tech volleyball team did not back down. Tech rallied to win the next two sets, before falling 18-16 in the fifth to give Kennesaw the win.
Tech opened up set one by keeping close through the first 10 points, but following a 5-5 tie, Tech was never able to catch back up to Kennesaw. Tech dropped set one, 25-21.
Set two played out the same way. Tech never was able to gain control of the set. Despite a few service runs by freshman Sharon Anderson and junior Courtney Smith, Tech was never able to gain more than a few points at a time. Kennesaw took set two by a score of 25-21.
Tech was down in set three, but fought back hard. Down 10-5, a few Tech kills and a five-point service run by Anderson gave Tech its first lead of the set, 12-11. From there, Tech took control. Behind five services ace, two from Anderson, and three blocks from senior Elise Robertson, Tech took set three, 25-20.
Maintaining momentum into the fourth, Tech and Kennesaw battled back and forth once again. Following a 9-9 tie, the Golden Eagles took control. Junior Madison Keyes prowled the net, defending the court by tallying five blocks in the fourth set alone. Anderson added three blocks in the fourth, also. Tech's defensive power led the way as they won the set, 25-22.
In the fifth and deciding set, the back-and-forth went one last time. Despite three blocks by Keyes and Robertson, Kennesaw and Tech fought into extra points. Following a 14-14 tie, the two teams continued to trade points until Kennesaw was able to win back-to-back points and took the fifth and deciding set, 18-16.
Robertson and Keyes both set career-highs while protecting the net with 10 and nine blocks, respectively. Robertson also added 12 kills. Junior Ellen Conti added 10 kills and seven digs. Anderson dished out 33 assists, three aces, three digs and three blocks. Junior Courtney Smith added 18 digs.
Extra points with Coastal Carolina
Tech continued its close matches Friday when it took on Coastal Carolina.
In set one, Tech took the early lead at 10-6 off kills by sophomore Cody Dodd and juniors Madison Keyes and Ellen Conti. Tech maintained the lead most of the set, but a few kills by the Chanticleers brought them back in and tied the set at 24. Back-and-forth the final points went until Coastal Carolina was able to score off a service ace and Tech error to take the first set, 27-25.
Back-and-forth it went, again, just like a yo-yo. Set two was tied through 12 points at 6-6, then again at 7-7. Coastal Carolina went on a small run to take the lead 10-8. Tech was able to get the tie at 12-12, and from there, points were traded on kills or errors from either offense. Tech was able to gain a 19-17 lead, but following a Coastal Carolina timeout, the Chanticleers never looked back, winning set two, 25-22.
Set three followed in fashion as Tech and Coastal Carolina battled. Tech took the early lead as the well-rounded offense was distributed by freshman setter Sharon Anderson. With a 24-18 lead, Tech looked to have the set in hand, but a string of errors, and some fight from the Chanticleers, Coastal Carolina took the lead 25-24. But Tech did not give up; a kill by senior Elise Robertson, and two attack errors from the Chanticleers, and Tech took set three 28-26, and stayed alive in the match.
Back-and-forth, back-and-forth, again the Golden Eagles and the Chanticleers volleyed the points in set four. All through the set, both teams looked to gain an advantage and it looked like each team might win, at different points throughout. Tech took the early lead at 14-10, but then the Chanticleers responded, coming back to tie the set at 19-19, and from there the yo-yo match continued. It continued until Coastal Carolina was able to clinch the set and the match, 25-22.
Sophomore Cody Dodd led the way with 14 kills and 5 blocks. Senior Elise Robertson and junior Ellen Conti added 12 and 13 kills, respectively. Anderson put up 39 assists.
Tennessee Tech will finish play at the Kennesaw Invitational on Saturday as they face Stony Brook at 9 a.m. and Samford at 1:30 p.m.