COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Friday night's match against Jacksonville State may be the biggest that the Tennessee Tech volleyball team has played so far this season. Tech, who enters the match with an 8-5 record in the OVC, will have the opportunity to make a statement against the OVC-leading Gamecocks who are a perfect 13-0 in the conference this season.
The Golden Eagles have won eight of their last 10 matches, including a five-game winning streak in which Tech knocked off third-place Morehead State.
Juniors Leah Meffert and Melanie Culp have excelled of late for Tech, both offensively and defensively. The pair has posted double-doubles in each of the Golden Eagles' last five contests. So far this season, Meffert leads the team with 16 double-doubles in 22 matches, while Culp has tallied 10.
Senior Katie Kenline has been steady in the Golden Eagle back row all season and will enter the match having posted 10-or-more digs in each of TTU's last 20 matches.
Senior Amanda Lindgren, who recently moved into fourth place all-time in career digs at Tech, is coming off of a strong weekend in which she hit .232 with 21 kills and a pair of blocks.
The Golden Eagles will need to play a solid match all-around to take down Jacksonville State who has yet to lose on its home floor, tallying a 7-0 mark at the Pete Mathews Colosseum. In OVC play, Jacksonville State ranks second in kills per set (14.11 k/s), second in assists per set (13.13 a/s), third in digs per set (18.89 d/s) and fourth in hitting percentage (.214).
The one weakness the Gamecocks might have is with their block, as they average just 1.36 blocks per set to rank ninth in the 10-team conference. On the other hand, Tech's block ranks second in the conference and could cause problems for JSU.
Jacksonville State's offense is very balanced with three players averaging at least two kills per set. Senior outside hitter Brittney Whitten leads JSU with 315 kills (3.25 k/s) while also ranking second on the team with 364 digs (3.75 d/s). She also has a team-best 11 solo blocks. So far this season, Jacksonville State has used its scrappy defense to tally 178 more digs than its opponents.
When JSU visited Tech earlier this year, the Golden Eagles had the Gamecocks on the ropes up 2-1 but could not finish the match as Jacksonville State came back to collect a five-set victory.
Friday's match will begin at 7 p.m. and can be followed on live stats through Jacksonville State's Web site, www.jsugamecocksports.com.