Golden Eagles grab sole ownership of first place with 3-0 Volleyween win
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Winning was so nice, they did it twice.
Tech scored what appeared to be match point and both teams left the floor, but the two league-leaders were called back and the score was adjusted. The Golden Eagles clinched the night's contest -- officially -- two points later, sweeping to a 3-0 victory over Morehead State to nab sole possession of first place in the Ohio Valley Conference.
The Golden Eagles (14-9) improved to 11-2 in OVC play, while Morehead State (19-6) was denied its 20th victory and slipped to second place with a 10-3 league ledger.
Tech has now won 18 consecutive sets, and six matches in a row. The Golden Eagles have won 11 of their last 12, with the lone loss coming at Morehead State. For the visiting Eagles, it was only the second time in 2008 they were blanked by a 3-0 count, and ended a string of six consecutive victories against TTU.
Despite falling behind early in the opening set, the Golden Eagles stormed back with an 11-1 run to take control and cruise to a 25-14 victory. The stretch included four service aces, including three by senior Caitlin Bullock. Tech's lead never fell below five points in the set.
"Caitlin has been serving more and more consistently lately," said TTU coach John Blair. "She was focused and she put us in a position to run off six or seven straight points.
"That allowed us to relax and play with a little more confidence," Blair added.
Tech broke an early 5-5 tie and grabbed an 11-7 lead in the second set before Morehead State fought back behind Erin Peak to forge a 12-11 lead. With the match a 15-14 in Tech's favor, the Golden Eagles went up 18-14. The difference went to five points, MSU snuck back to within two at 23-21 on a kill by Katelyn Barbour, and Tech sealed the 2-0 lead on a kill by Bullock and a service ace from Laura Pierce.
The Glden Eagles took control of a tight third set after the first few points, and went up by a 14-10 margin. The lead grew to 19-13, and eventually the Golden Eagles were ahead, 22-14.
A couple of TTU errors and a kill by Peak brought MSU back to within 23-18, and Tech went on top, 24-18.
That's when it appeared the Golden Eagles had won the match and both teams left the floor, but the score was changed to 24-19, and Kaitlin Craven got a kills for the Eagles to make it 24-20. Amanda Lindgren finished it off with a kill.
"I thought we played the way we're capable of playing," Blair said. "We've stressed the team concept from Day One, and we're getting production from every single person on the floor."
Leah Meffert led Tech with 14 kills and a .250 hitting mark, while Jessica Asplund had sensational numbers with 10 kills in 14 swings without an error, good for a .714 hitting percentage. Bullock had eight kills and hit .412. As a team, the Golden Eagles hit .309.
Kappy Lang set 37 balls, while on the back row, Katie Kenline (15), Meffert (12) and Teresa Craig (10) hit double figures for digs.
Morehead State, which hit .124 for the night, was led by Peak with nine kills and a .429 hitting mark. Barbour added eight kills, 10 digs and 19 assists. Kristina Shoo led the defense with 13 digs and Craven added 10 digs.
The Golden Eagles host their final regular season home match Saturday at 2 p.m. against Eastern Kentucky, and five seniors will be recognized -- manager Sarah Dolle and players Alysson Sanders, Kappy Lang, Jess Asplund and Caitlin Bullock. Admission is free.