Golden Eagles top the Panthers in a five-set thriller on Saturday's Homecoming contest

Golden Eagles top the Panthers in a five-set thriller on Saturday's Homecoming contest

By Holly Weber, TTU Sports Information 

COOKEVILLE, Tenn.—It was surely a happy Homecoming for the Tennessee Tech volleyball team (7-16, 3-7 OVC) as they defeated conference opponent Eastern Illinois (5-20, 2-8 OVC) in a five-set (3-2) thriller at the Hooper Eblen Center Saturday evening. The Golden Eagles saw winning set scores of 25-21, 18-25, 25-19, 23-25, and 18-16 over the Panthers.

Tech came out strong in set one opening with a five-point lead at 11-6, however, EIU quickly came back to tie the set at 11-11. Once again the Golden Eagles created a five-point lead at 18-13 with a kill from sophomore Susan Jeziorowski. The Panthers staged a comeback in the set and pulled within one point of Tech at 20-19, however, the Golden Eagles held tough and edged out a first set victory 25-21. 

Eastern Illinois came out with vengeance in set two with the Panthers kicking things off with an 18-7 lead. However, Tech refused to relent and came back with four-points of EIU at 22-18 with a kill by freshman Emily Brooks. Unfortunately, Eastern Illinois held on and squeaked out a second set win 25-18 to tie the match score at 1-1. 

Things were neck-and-neck heading into the third set as the Panthers and Golden Eagles came out with a tie at 11-11. Eastern Illinois and Tennessee Tech battled back and forth into the latter portion of the set, with the Golden Eagles holding a slight advantage at 20-16. Tech continued to keep the pressure on and sealed a third set victory 25-19 with a kill by Duncan. 

With a two set-to one lead in the match, the Golden Eagles came out on fire in the beginning of the fourth set with an 11-5 lead to start. However, EIU was determined to keep things interesting. The Panthers pulled within one point of the Golden Eagles at 18-17and then continued to battle to tie the set up at 23-23. Eastern Illinois then kept the pressure on and stole a fourth set victory 25-23. 

Things stayed interesting into the fifth set as both teams came out with the intensity at an all-time high. The Panthers took the early 7-4 advantage over the Golden Eagles, however, Tech would not let their lead last long. Tech battled back and tied the set at 7-7 and from there got into a seesaw affair. The Panthers and Golden Eagles held ties on and off up to 16-16, until finally Tech broke the chain and a kill by Alyssa Povey and an EIU attack error sealed a fifth set and match victory 18-16 for the Golden Eagles. 

Shealene Little led the Golden Eagles with 16 kills and a .186 hitting percentage in the contest. Sharon Anderson totaled her 11th double-double of the season with 46 assists and 21 digs in the match, while teammates Alyssa Povey totaled 11 kills and five blocks and Kennedy Wade gathered 30 digs. Josie Winner led the Panthers with 18 kills and 26 digs in the contest, while teammate Maria Brown posted 14 kills and 20 digs in the match.

As a team, Tech hit .099 to Eastern Illinois' .123. However, the Golden Eagles tallied 64 assists and 119 digs to the Panther's 52 assists and 99 digs.

Tech returns to action on Friday, October 28, when the Golden Eagles travel to Morehead State for a 6 p.m. contest.

Photo by Jim Dillon