By Layne Weitzel, TTU Sports Information
TOLEDO, Ohio – Down two starters due to injuries, the Golden Eagles had their work cut out for them in their final non-conference match of 2017 at the Blue/Gold Invitational.
Tech pushed New Mexico (8-4) to four sets in a 3-1 loss (15-25, 26-24, 17-25, 17-25). Its starting lineup featured Emily Brooks, Abigail Duncan, Taylor Houck, Rachel Thomas, Susie Jeziorowski, Shealene Little and Kirsten Brugere at libero with Brooks making her first start this season. Kellie Williams and Shaneice James did not play due to injuries sustained during yesterday's double-header.
"Team-wise, we're gritty," said head coach Dave Zelenock. "We've got a lot of kids who can do a lot of different things."
Junior Shealene Little earned a spot on the Blue/Gold Invitational all-tournament team, her third all-tournament honor of the season. Little saw time in all 11 sets this weekend, totaling 41 kills, 24 digs and 42.5 points. Her highest offensive numbers came today vs. New Mexico, recording 18 kills and 19 points and hitting .207.
"This is kind of what we always expected out of her," said Zelenock. "She's playing all six rotations. The last two years, she just played front row. She's doing a great job in back row for us.
"She's kind of filling that role of that go-to player. I think heading into OVC, it'll be interesting to see if she can carry that over."
Down 1-0 in sets, Tennessee Tech (2-10) traded points with New Mexico throughout set two until the Lobos established a three-point lead at 12-9. Tech kept the Lobos close, reaching a 24-24 score until timely kills from Susie Jeziorowski and Taylor Houck gave the Golden Eagles the set win at 26-24.
Tech jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the third set, but a 7-1 run by the Lobos tied the score at 8-all. The score stayed close until it reached 14-14, when New Mexico scored seven-straight to lead 21-14. It would take the set at 25-17 to lead two sets to one.
The Lobos led comfortably for much of set four. Down 23-13, Tech attempted a comeback, scoring three-straight, but it proved to be too much of a deficit as New Mexico won the set 25-17 to take the match three sets to one.
2017 BLUE/GOLD INVITATIONAL ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Tech opens conference play on Thursday, Sept. 21 at home vs. Jacksonville State (11-5). Admission is free.