September 5, 2009

TTU halted by Appalachian State

BOONE, N.C. - The Tennessee Tech volleyball team fell to tournament-host Appalachian State, 3-1 (25-14, 13-25, 25-21, 29-27), on Saturday evening to finish the Appalachian State Invitational with a 1-2 record. With the win, the Mountaineers improve to 2-4 on the season while the Golden Eagles drop to 1-5 overall.

Less than eight hours after picking up their first victory of the season, Tech found itself in a hole early as Appalachian State cruised to a 25-14 victory in the first set.

However, the Golden Eagles responded in the second set as they jumped out to an 8-4 lead early and never looked back. Tech used a pair of five-point runs to put the set out of reach at 20-10 and then coasted from there to a 25-13 win in the set.

Contrary to the first two sets, both the third and fourth sets were closely contested. In the third, the teams were tied 18-18 when the Mountaineers scored four of the next five points to take a 22-19 lead. Tennessee Tech cut the deficit to two, 22-20, on a kill by Leah Meffert, but Appalachian State was able to string together three of the next four points to take the set 25-21.

The Golden Eagles looked to be the dominant team for much of the fourth set. They held a three-point advantage at 19-16 on a kill by junior Marie Peddicord, but the Mountaineers rattled off six consecutive points to take a 22-19 advantage. Tech would not go out quietly as the team fought off three match points to even the score at 25-25. The Golden Eagles briefly held the lead at 27-26 as they benefited from a pair of ASU errors, but the Appalachian State rebounded with the next three points to capture their first win of their invitational, 29-27.

Junior setter Melanie Culp set her second career high in assists in as many days as she finished with 50 helpers for the Golden Eagles who hit .164 as a team. Meffert tallied her second double-double of the season, finishing with 17 kills and 10 digs, while senior Amanda Lindgren recorded 14 kills and Peddicord pounded 9 kills with a .444 hitting percentage.

Defensively, Tech was led by senior Katie Kenline who finished with a match-high 20 digs. Junior Laura Pierce added 13 digs, and freshman Kelsey Gray notched a team-high three solo blocks.

The Golden Eagles struggled against the ASU block as the Mountaineers finished with a 16-6 advantage. Tech held a 62-58 advantage in digs but was only able to muster for aces compared to seven for Appalachian State.

For the tournament, Kenline averaged more than five digs per set, 71 total, while Meffert and Lindgren finished with 49 and 46 kills, respectively. Culp averaged 10.5 assists per set and added 26 digs in the three matches.

Tennessee Tech returns to action next weekend at the Louisville Invitational where they will meet the host Lady Cardinals along with Liberty and Toledo in their last pre-conference tournament of the season.