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Golden Eagles get by defending OVC champ Tennessee State, 3-1

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - After falling to the Tennessee State Lady Tigers in extra points last season, the Tennessee Tech volleyball team got a measure of retribution by knocking off the defending OVC Tournament champions in four sets Saturday afternoon to split the opening weekend of league play.

Junior Amanda Lindgren led Tech with a double-double, tallying 15 kills and 12 digs in the win. Fellow juniors Katie Kenline and Teresa Craig both recorded double-digit digs with 13 apiece.

With an all-around effort, the Golden Eagles improved to 4-8 and 1-1 in the OVC while the Lady Tigers remained winless in the conference at 0-2.

"We had much more consistent focus," said head coach John Blair, "and had more intent on the floor. We showed a willingness to make the plays and had fewer lapses."

The first set saw three different lead changes with Tech out to as much as a three-point lead at several different points. Lindgren scored six of her 15 kills including the final point off a set from senior Kappy Lang.

With Tech holding onto a 23-22 lead, a TSU serving error coupled with the Lindgren kill gave the Golden Eagles the first set, 25-22.

It almost looked like the tides had turned in the second set with the Lady Tigers clinging onto a 9-6 lead. But Tech went into a frenzy and forced three straight attacking errors by TSU and then a bad set by the Lady Tigers evened the set up at 10-10.

With a kill from junior Teresa Craig, the Golden Eagles were set up for match point. A timely substitution of sophomore Laura Pierce allowed the jump server to collect the final point of the set with a service ace. The point gave Tech the 25-19 win and a 2-0 lead heading into the intermission.

"I thought we did a pretty good job defending the things we needed to defend against that team," Blair said. "We wanted to limit Lowe's effectiveness, and I thought we did that well. We showed better discipline and poise, and we were patient and didn't try to force things."

The Lady Tigers wouldn't go quietly and held Tech to a .105 hitting percentage in the third set while collecting 13 kills to cut the Golden Eagle lead to only one set, 2-1, with a 25-23 win.

Not wanting the match to go any further, the Golden Eagles used a strong offensive attack and jumped out to an early 5-1 lead after a kill by Lindgren. Tech never trailed in the match and led by as many as nine at 23-14 before kills from senior Caitlin Bullock and sophomore Leah Meffert sealed the match for the Golden Eagles. The final score was 25-17.

Tennessee State was led by Christian Lowe who had 11 kills and six digs. On the defensive side, Candace Saleaumua posted a double-double with 13 assists and 18 digs.

The Golden Eagles return to the floor on Sept. 23 when they travel to defending regular season OVC champion Jacksonville State. Match time is scheduled for 7 p.m.