CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- The Country Inns & Suites Invitational. hosted by UT Chattanooga, gave the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagle volleyball team its first test of the season Friday, as Tech fell to U.S.C. Upstate in three sets.
Set scores were 26-24, 25-17, and 25-13.
Tech's pinhitters proved to be the most productive on offense. Natalie Penrod, Ellen Conti and Katrina Dvorken combined for 21 of Tech's 34 kills. Penrod led the Purple and Gold with 11 kills on 23 swings, notching a .435 attack percentage. Conti fell next in line with seven kills while Katrina Dvorken hit a team high .600 with three kills on five swings.
Upstate swung for a .271 mark and dealt out five service aces. The Spartans also held a slight 48-45 edge in digs.
The first set proved to be the highlight of the match, as Tech outhit USC Upstate 18-14, and accounted for half of Tech's 34 kills in the match. The Golden Eagles hit .316, well above last seasons attack average of .143.
Tech trailed most of the set by three, but a run from behind the service line by senior Madison Comperry brought the Golden Eagles within two. Tech continued to battle when back-to-back kills held off three Upstate match points to bring the set to 24-24. A Tech ball handling error and a kill by Upstate ended the match, 26-24.
The Spartans used the momentum from the first set to propel them over the Golden Eagles the remainder of the match. Despite a four service run by Conti in the second set, the Golden Eagles had trouble putting a ball past the Spartan defense that sprawled for 21 digs.
The third set proved to be a challenge as the Golden Eagles never earned more than a two-point run. The Spartans won 25-13 in the third and finishing set.
Tech returns to action Saturday with two more matches. The Golden Eagles are slated to face Alcorn State at 9 a.m. CT and then meets host UT Chattanooga at 6 p.m. CT. Links to Live Stats and Live Video are found here.