By Nate Perry, TTU Sports Information
SEATTLE, Wash. – The Tennessee Tech volleyball team dropped its final game in the Seattle U. Redhawk Invitational to Idaho State on Saturday afternoon, falling in straight sets. With that result, Tech has now closed the book on its nonconference schedule, having compiled a 6-8 record.
"Today was definitely our best match of the weekend," said coach Jeannette Waldo. "We got back closer to what we need to be seeing daily as far as our competitive aspect. We just need to continue to work on our consistency going forward."
Tech played well to start the match, using an early run to get out to a 12-7 advantage. The tandem of Taylor Dorsey and Abigail Duncan keyed that stretch with each posting two kills and combining for a pair of assisted blocks.
The tables would turn however, when Idaho State went on a 15-2 spurt of its own to go up 22-14. TTU would make a comeback bid, scoring six of the next seven points to make it 23-20, but could not muster the final tallies to get the match tied.
Ali Verzani led Tech's offensive effort in the second set, collecting five of her game-high 12 kills. Verzani also notched 10 digs to pick up her sixth double-double of the season, and turned in a .333 hitting percentage – her second-highest career mark in that category. The six double-doubles leads all Tech players, with the next closest being Erica Grant with four.
"By far (Verzani's) best match," Waldo said. "She was more relaxed and able to be more aggressive, which is what we're used to seeing from her. She wasn't doing that in the first two matches, so it was really nice to have her back to normal."
TTU could not find an answer for Idaho State's Abby Garrity, who put up 15 of her game-high 18 kills in the first two sets. The senior outside hitter did not make a single attack error on her 33 attempts for an outstanding .545 percentage.
"When we scouted (Idaho State), we could see that she was their obvious go-to player and we game-planned to try and take her away as their No. 1 option – we just couldn't get it done," said Waldo. "We tripped her up a few times and made some things tough on her, but she just had a really good day for them today."
The third set was Tech's cleanest of the match offensively. The Golden Eagles got four kills each from Verzani and Shealene Little, and two each from Dorsey and Rachel Thomas, while erring just three times for a team attack percentage of .400.
Little finished a decent all-around game with eight kills and nine digs, and was Tech's selection for the all-tournament team.
Thomas added six kills, Dorsey had five, and Duncan had three with five digs.
Susie Jeziorowski was Tech's lone setter in the match and recorded 31 assists. She attacked only 10 times, but recorded three kills with no errors for a .300 percentage.
Kirsten Brugere had 17 digs to lead Tech's back court.
"We started out at a lower point than I hoped this weekend, but we climbed as it went along, which was good to see," Waldo said. "I thought we were hesitant and seemed to get in our own way at times in the first two matches, which really hindered us."
"We didn't get the result we wanted, but we ended on a higher note than we started, which is always one of your goals during a tournament weekend. Now, we start the conference season, and when we meet on Monday, we'll be making sure that everyone is on the same page and understands the increased importance of that."
Tennessee Tech opens its conference schedule next weekend with a pair of road matches. The Golden Eagles will be at Eastern Kentucky on Friday evening at 6 p.m. CT, and at Morehead State at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Photo by Thomas Corhern