By Jocelyn VerVelde, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
KENNESAW, GA. – The Tennessee Tech volleyball team (4-6) split its matches during the final day of the Kennesaw Invitational. In its first match of the day, Tech topped Stony Brook in five sets and then lost to Samford in three in the final match of the tournament.
Topping the Seawolves
In a five-set thriller, Tennessee Tech was able to take the ultimate advantage in the match and pull out the win.
Set one went to the wire as Tech and Stony Brook battled. Stony Brook took the lead early on, leading Tech 7-1. However, Tech battled on behind service runs by senior Ashleigh Hancock and junior Ellen Conti. The Golden Eagles were able to get the score within one, at 22-23, but the fight was not enough as the Seawolves took the set 25-23.
Tech and Stony Brook took the court for set two and continued to battle, staying within one point all the way to a score of 12-11 in favor of the Golden Eagles. From there Tech took the momentum and did not lose it for the set. A combination of forced errors and Tech kills gave the Golden Eagles the win, 25-18.
Set three was almost identical to set two, as the two teams remained in a tight race for points. Again staying within one point up to a 12-11 Tech lead, the Golden Eagles took advantage from there. Kills from senior Natalie Penrod, sophomore Cody Dodd and a set-winning kill from Conti led Tech to a 25-22 win.
Again in set four, Tech and Stony Brook opened fighting tooth and nail for each point. A score of 9-9 was where Stony Brook gained their momentum and didn't relinquish it. Forcing errors and distributing an effective offense, Stony Brook forced the fifth set with a 25-21 win.
In an offensive fury, Tech took control of the deciding set and never looked back. Committing just one hitting error in the entire set, the Golden Eagles were able to earn 12 of the 15 points on their own, the other three coming on the Seawolves' errors. Behind seven kills and six blocks, Tech took the set and the match with a win of 15-9.
Senior Elise Robertson lead the way with 17 kills, hitting a clip of .424, adding five blocks. Junior Madison Keyes was a wall for Tech, putting up a career-high 11 blocks, she also added 8 kills. Dodd and Penrod added 10 kills apiece.
Stopped by Samford
In the final match of the tournament, Tech was halted by a powerful Samford team, losing 3-0. Samford's offense proved too much for the Golden Eagles as they averaged 15 kills a set while hitting a cumulative .442 for the match.
In set one, Samford was in control from the beginning as it took an early 7-3 lead, never looking back. Samford sealed the set with a kill, winning 25-12.
Tech looked to bounce back, taking an early 4-0 lead off service aces and forcing Samford to make errors, but that would not hold as the Bulldogs grabbed the lead at 6-5 and did not let go. Despite forcing the Bulldogs to make seven hitting errors and holding them to a .250 hitting percentage, Tech was not able to crack Samford. Samford took the second set 25-16.
Samford picked up its offense again in set three, committing one error during its aggressive attacking. Tech was unable to find a way to stifle their attack. Samford took the set and the match with a 25-13 win.
Tech was led by junior Ellen Conti who had six kills and senior Natalie Penrod added five. Senior Ashleigh Hancock put up 15 assists.
The Tennessee Tech volleyball team has off the next weekend and will return to action at home on Sept. 27 and 28 as it takes on Ohio Valley Conference opponents Murray State and Austin Peay.