Golden Eagles begin quest for NCAA Championship in Dayton

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Tech volleyball team played its first tournament in Ohio earlier this season, and Friday the Golden Eagles will begin their biggest tournament of the season in the same state.

After claiming the OVC's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, the Golden Eagles journey to Dayton, Ohio, for the first round. Tech will face No. 16 Tulane Friday at 4 p.m. CST, and with a victory will advance to play the Dayton/Western Michigan winner on Saturday.

"This is probably one of our best matchups we could have hoped for," said head coach John Blair. "I think we match up well with all of the teams in the first and second rounds. They should all be good matches."

Tech meets the Green Wave for the first time in 30 years when the two schools face off in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Tulane took that last match, 2-0, in the old format of match scoring. This season, Tulane is 27-5 and making its first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history.

The two teams have one opponent in common this season -- the Green Wave picked up a win over Marshall, 3-0, while Tech fell to the Thundering Herd by that same score.

Sara Radosevic leads Tulane this season on the offensive side of the net with 417 kills while hitting .216. Radosevic also leads the team in service aces with 36 and is second on the team in digs with 313.

It has been two years since Tech has faced the WMU Broncos. It was the first tournament of the season back in 2006 when the Golden Eagles fell, 3-0.

The Broncos are coming off a regular season final loss to Valparaiso, but received an at-large bid into the national tournament. Currently 26-6, Western Michigan also only had one home loss all season while matching the Golden Eagles' 14 conference wins. Michelle Moore leads the team with 470 kills on the season while hitting .239.

Jaime Gotham controls the defensive side of the court with 103 block assists and 114 total blocks. Four players for the Broncos have more than 250 digs on the season including libero Caitlin Strimel.

Tech last met the Dayton Flyers three seasons ago in coach John Blair's second season with the Golden Eagles. Although it was a loss, Tech did pick up a win over Dayton in 1982, with a 3-0 sweep.

Dayton is making its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance while the Golden Eagles are making their second. Dayton this season lost to St. Louis in the A-10 Tournament and then fell to Ohio University to head into the NCAA tournament on a two-match losing skid. With a balanced offense, Lindsay Fletemier leads the team with 391 kills while also stuffing 125 total blocks including 100 block assists.