Golden Eagles take on Murray State on Saturday
Junior Leah Meffert looked unstoppable on Friday night as the Golden Eagle volleyball team dominated its match against visiting UT Martin at the Eblen Center. Meffert, the reigning OVC Player of the Year, looked like just that as she pounded 19 kills with a career-high .548 hitting percentage as Tech swept the Skyhawks, 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-10). Meffert also added seven digs and one block for the Golden Eagles (2-11, 1-3 OVC) who picked up both their first conference and home wins of the season.
"Leah was much more patient as an attacker and did a good job of working the court," said head coach John Blair. "Melanie [Culp] was doing a good job of locating, and when we get located with Leah in rhythm, she is tough to stop."
Setter Melanie Culp ran an ultra-efficient offense Friday evening as the Golden Eagles hit a season-high .351 percent as a team. Culp dished out 35 assists and also added seven digs and one block.
Blair pointed to defense, specifically blocking, as an area of emphasis that his team has been working on lately which came through big against UT Martin. The Golden Eagles totaled eight blocks, while UT Martin (6-7, 1-3 OVC) did not record a block in the match.
"Defensively we did a better job of getting adjusted to the right position and seeing the hitter," Blair said. "Marie [Peddicord] did a better job of spacing on her block, and we had a very productive night defensively. Blocking has been a point of emphasis for us, and we're starting to get to the point where it's making a little more sense."
One problem that Tech has had until this point in the season was closing out games down the stretch. That was certainly not the case in Friday's match as Tech went on runs of 6-1, 10-2 and 6-1 to close out sets one, two and three, respectively.
"We worked a lot this week on short games so we can get a sense of how hard we have to work after 20 to win a set," Blair said. "It's something we'll continue to address - we're closer but not over the hump yet."
In addition to Meffert and Culp, the Golden Eagles also received impressive performances against the Skyhawks from Amanda Lindgren, Marie Peddicord and Katie Kenline.
Lindgren looked very comfortable as she put down eight kills on 21 attempts without an error for a .381 hitting percentage. The outside hitter also added five digs and three blocks in the contest.
Peddicord made the most of every swing, recording six kills in 11 attempts with just one error for a .455 hitting percentage. She also was a major part of Tech's block as she finished tied for the match high with four blocks.
Kenline averaged six digs per set as she finished with a match-high 18 scoops from her libero position. The 2008 OVC Defensive Player of the Year has tallied 10-or-more digs in 12 of 13 matches this season.
The Golden Eagles will look for their second OVC victory of the season as they play Murray State on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.
"Murray State is a well-coached team and will bring a little different element tomorrow," Blair said. "They will be a very worthy opponent."
Photo by Jim Dillon