COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - After winning three of its last four contests, the Tennessee Tech volleyball team sits tied for fifth place in the Ohio Valley Conference. This weekend, the Golden Eagles will have an opportunity to improve their position in the standings as they travel for a pair of road matches against OVC foes.
The task of moving up in the conference standings will not be an easy one as TTU will take on two teams that they have already fallen to this season - Eastern Illinois and Southeast Misouri. Tech (4-12, 3-4 OVC) will visit Charleston, Ill., on Friday for a matchup against EIU before heading to SEMO for a Saturday night meeting with the Redhawks.
Eastern Illinois enters Friday's match with the Golden Eagles having just one victory in the conference this season; however, that victory came in the Panthers first meeting with TTU in Cookeville. After beginning the season with a 6-6 mark prior to their OVC schedule, the Panthers are just 1-6 since and are currently on a five-match losing skid.
EIU is led by Alex Zwettler who is averaging 3.44 kills per set while also ranking second on the team in digs with 3.30 saves per set. The Panthers have hit .147 so far this season as a team while their opponents have collectively hit at a .192 clip.
Southeast Missouri defeated the Golden Eagles in a close five-set match when the two teams met for the first time this season in mid-September. Since that point, the Redhawks have posted a 2-4 record and are currently on a two-match losing streak after falling to Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State a weekend ago. SEMO is currently tied with Tech for the fifth spot in the OVC.
Emily Hughes and Molly Davis are the team leaders for Southeast Missouri. Hughes has 174 kills with a team-best .261 hitting percentage, while Davis ranks among the leaders in the OVC with a 5.73 digs per set average. The Redhawks have been out-blocked handily by opponents this season, posting 71 blocks while opponents have a total of 124 stuffs.
Tech will look to build off of its five-set victory at Tennessee State last Saturday in order to avenge its losses this weekend. The Golden Eagles received solid performances across the board as they won their third five-set match of the season. Amanda Lindgren led the team with 16 kills while Leah Meffert finished with 15 and Marie Peddicord chipped in with 12.
The balance that TTU has shown lately is something that was missing when Tech met EIU and SEMO the first time around. However, the Golden Eagles have stepped up their play collectively to put themselves in a position to move to over .500 in the OVC if they can secure a pair of wins this weekend.
Tech begins play on Friday evening at 7 p.m. at Eastern Illinois before taking on Southeast Missouri at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Live stats for Friday's match are available through eiupanthers.com, and Web streaming is available through ovcsports.tv.