Late match rally propels Tech past SIU Edwardsville
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. --- A flair for the dramatic is what Tennessee Tech volleyball fans have become accustomed to this season at Eblen Center, and Friday evening's match against SIU Edwardsville was no exception as the Golden Eagles rallied from a 2-1 deficit to take the match in five sets.
After dropping two of the first three sets, thing were looking bleak for the Golden Eagles as the Cougars held a three-point lead late in the fourth set at 20-17. SIUE managed to hold its lead and had a match-point opportunity at 24-23.
Junior Kelsey Gray responded with her second kill of the set, which set the stage for freshman Ellen Conti. Conti, who tallied a career-high 21 kills in the match, tallied her biggest kills of the match as she notched back-to-back kills to force a deciding fifth set.
Tech found itself trailing again early on in the fifth set, but Conti was there again as she tallied five straight kills for Tennessee Tech to give the Golden Eagles the lead at 7-6. TTU would hold its lead the rest of the way as it completed the comeback with a 15-13 fifth set victory.
Along with Conti, several other Golden Eagles made their presence felt on offense as Gray added 11 kills of her own, while hitting at .348. Sophomore Elsie Robertson tallied eight kills as well.
Sophomore Lauren Stiles, who entered the match for the first time in the fourth set, tallied a team-high 23 assists, including 11 in the deciding fifth set. Junior Madison Comperry followed Stiles closely with 20 assists.
Three Golden Eagles notched at least 11 digs on the night, including sophomore Allison May, who tallied a team-high 21. Sophomore Natalie Penrod finished the night two digs shy of her career-high with 18, while freshman Courtney Smith posted 11 digs.
On the opposite side of the net, the duo of Cori Harris and Kelsey Augustine led the Cougar offense with 11 kills. Sammi Minton set for SIUE all night as she dished out a match-high 46 assists, while Chelsea Cloclasure posted a match-high 23 digs.
TTU (3-17, 2-8 OVC) wraps up its homestand Saturday, against the Eastern Illinois Panthers, at 2 p.m.