Golden Eagles net Blair's 100th career coaching win at Tech

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- John Blair's 100th win as Tennessee Tech volleyball coach was a memorable milestone. The Golden Eagles saw a 2-0 lead slip away against host UT Chattanooga Saturday morning, then fought back through a tight fifth set to claim a 3-2 victory for the veteran coach.

Tech couldn't sustain the momentum in its afternoon match at the Chattanooga Invitational, falling to East Tennessee State 3-1. The Golden Eagles now turn their full attention to Ohio Valley Conference play, opening Friday night with a home match -- their first home match of the season -- against UT Martin at 7 p.m. in Eblen Center.

In the win against Chattanooga, sophomore Natalie Penrod put together the best match of her young career, leading Tech with 25 kills and 20 digs, including the game-winning kill in the fifth set. Tech had claimed the first two sets, 25-17 and 25-19, but the Mocs came back to win the next two sets, 29-27 and 25-19.

Penrod had just four errors in the match, finishing with a .300 hitting mark. Junior Kelsey Gray was also effective, adding 13 kills and eight blocks assists. Freshman Ellen Conti added 10 kills to the Tech attack. Madison Comperry dished out 51 assists, while in the back row, Allison May led with 30 digs. Courtney Smith had 21 digs as Tech came up with 101 total digs. At the net, Tech had 10 total blocks as Elise Robertson chipped in with six.

In the final match of the tourney, Tech dropped the first set, 25-19, but rebounded with a 25-23 win in the second to tie the contest against ETSU. The Bucs caught fire in the next two sets, hitting .375 in the third to take a 25-17 win, and posting a .464 team hitting mark in the fourth on the way to a decisive 25-16 margin.

Penrod continued her strong play, leading Tech with 15 kills, while Gray added 12 kills and three blocks. Conti finished with eight kills and five blocks in the final match. Tech was it's own worst enemy, managing to post an .068 hitting percentage for the match as ETSU posted 14 team blocks. Comperry had 35 assists in the loss, while May posted 14 digs.