Tech volleyball team wins five-set thriller at UT Martin

Tech volleyball team wins five-set thriller at UT Martin

By Jocelyn VerVelde, Sports Information Coordinator

MARTIN, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech volleyball team won its first Ohio Valley Conference match of the season in exciting fashion Friday night, downing host UT Martin in five sets. 

Tech had four players with double-digit kills. Senior Natalie Penrod led the team with a match-high 17 kills, while sophomores Audrey Lewis and Cody Dodd added 14 and 12, respectively. Senior Elise Robertson had 11. Lewis registered a double-double by adding 14 digs. Junior Courtney Smith led the defense with 24 digs, while Dodd added six blocks. Junior Madison Keyes finished the night with nine kills and no errors for an impressive hitting percentage of .474 and added five blocks. Freshman Sharon Anderson ran the offense, distributing a match-high 47 assists.

UT Martin was led by junior Allie Whimpy who put down 15 kills and sophomore Shelby Hoskins with 11. Sophomore setter Amanda Crask put up 44 assists.

In the fifth and deciding set, Tech took early control, leading 8-4 at the switch, and never let go. Tech put down nine kills in the deciding set and only allowed UT Martin to put away five kills. Tech took the deciding set, 15-12.

Tech dropped set one, 25-16, despite allowing UT Martin only 10 kills in the first set. The Golden Eagles were unable to capitalize, making too many errors of their own.

Looking for a change in set two, head coach Dave Zelenock put in outside hitter Lewis and Anderson at setter. The switch proved to be the right move as Lewis put down four of her six attempts during the set, only making one error, and Anderson put up 13 assists in the set. Coming from down, Tech was able to tie the set at 22, forcing a UTM timeout. Tech took the set in extra points, 28-26.

Carrying their momentum from set two, the Golden Eagles were able to maintain offensive authority over the Skyhawks by putting down 15 kills and maintaining a team hitting percentage of .257. Senior opposite Elise Robertson was perfect in the set, putting down four kills on just five attempts. Tech won set three, 25-21.
The Golden Eagles took an early lead in set four but could not maintain the pressure. The Skyhawks took the lead following a 12-12 tie and never relinquished it. UTM forced the fifth set with a 25-22 win in set four.

The Golden Eagles return home October 11 and 12 as they take on Tennessee State on Friday at 7 p.m. CDT and Belmont on Saturday at 2 p.m.