By Layne Weitzel, TTU Sports Information
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Tennessee Tech volleyball ended its conference trip to Illinois with a loss to SIUE on Saturday, falling 21-25, 14-25, 15-25.
The Cougars (18-4, 8-2 OVC) overpowered Tech offensively, hitting .396 as a team with 48 kills and six service aces.
"We talked about how each kid over there has real specific patterns," said head coach Dave Zelenock of SIUE. "A little bit of their success was when kids went against the pattern, which we're okay with. If the kid does something that we haven't seen in the three matches we scouted, and truly beats us, all right, that's no big deal. They were beating us on things that we scouted. That's where the frustration is.
"It was just their serve. The first line of defense is a good serve. They really picked on our defensive specialists tonight. They got to predict what we were going to do very easily, and they could just run a transition offense right back at us. On the flip side, we didn't serve tough enough to do that to them. "
Tech tallied its best team hitting percentage (.324) and kills total (15) in the opening set. The Golden Eagles fell behind midway through the set by a score of 13-7 but answered with five-straight points to cut the SIUE lead to 13-12. Another short but effective three-point run from the Cougars put them ahead just enough to capture the set 25-21.
A Taylor Houck kill kicked off set two for Tech, and the score stayed close until a three-point streak from SIUE extended the Cougar lead to 11-7. Tech couldn't get closer than three points down for the remainder of the set, which SIUE won 25-14.
Two SIUE errors gave Tech the early 2-0 lead in the third set, but the Cougars rebounded with four points to go up 4-2. Tech would tie the score at 6-6, fall behind 9-6 and get within one point of SIUE at 12-11, but a nine-point Cougar run gave them a solid 21-11 advantage. SIUE would continue on to win the final set 25-15.