Western Kentucky leaves TTU with a winless opening weekend

Kenline named to the all-tournament team

KNOXVILLE, Tenn - The Golden Eagles had their chances but could not find a way to come away with their first victory of the season on Sunday. The Tennessee Tech volleyball team dropped a three-set match against Western Kentucky (25-19, 25-19, 25-18) to fall to 0-3 to start the 2009 campaign.

"We had opportunities to win every set," said head coach John Blair. "It's the little things that will take some time to work out, but we will use this as a learning experience."

Playing with as many as four freshmen on the court at the same time, the Golden Eagles used the Lady Vol Classic as a chance to give their newcomers some valuable playing time.

"The only way to get experience is by playing," Blair said. "I think that this experience has helped the freshmen, and they're only going to get better."

A bright spot for the Golden Eagles this weekend was senior Katie Kenline who was named to the Lady Vol Classic All-Tournament Team. Kenline finished the three-match tournament with a team-high 35 digs.

Tennessee Tech fell behind early, 9-6, in the first set but stayed within striking distance as junior Leah Meffert put down a pair of kills for two of Tech's next three points. The Golden Eagles could not find a way to put together a run as Western Kentucky gradually extended its lead to six, 16-10. Senior Amanda Lindgren helped to cut the lead to four with back-to-back kills, but the Lady Toppers answered with two consecutive points to extend their lead back to six and would go on to win by that final margin.

Lindgren and Meffert finished with four and three kills, respectively, in the opening set, while junior Melanie Culp had nine assists and Kenline collected six digs.

Western Kentucky raced out to an early 12-6 lead in set two before a three-point surge by the Golden Eagles, including a pair of kills by Meffert, cut the deficit to three. Just as in set one, the Lady Toppers responded with a run of their own and pushed their lead back to six, 20-14. Kills by Lindgren and Meffert helped to cut the deficit to four, 21-17, but that is as close at TTU would get as WKU closed out the set, 25-19.

The Golden Eagles started a promising third set with a 5-3 lead before Western Kentucky scored five consecutive points to take control. The Lady Toppers extended their lead to 16-9, but TTU scored four of the next five points to come within six at 17-13. However, Tech could not capitalize on its serving to go on a run and fell by a score of 25-18.

Meffert led the team with 12 kills and a .276 hitting percentage, while Lindgren added seven kills and a block. Culp dished out 23 assists for the Golden Eagles, and Kenline tallied a match-high 12 digs.

Brittany Bowen and Tiffany Elmore led Western Kentucky with 15 and 11 kills, respectively. Lauren Stuckel handed out 29 assists and added seven kills from her setter position.

"We made too many technical mistakes, and we need to reduce that as a team," Blair said. "We understand now how consistently we need to play in order to win."

Tennessee Tech returns to action next weekend at the Appalachian State Invitational where they will meet North Florida, William & Mary and ASU. The Golden Eagles begin tournament play on Friday, Sept. 4 against North Florida on 4 p.m.