BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The Tennessee Tech volleyball team battled through a tough second day at the WKU Invitational Saturday, dropping back-to-back 3-0 losses to IUPUI and No. 10 Dayton as the challenging early-season road stretch continued.
Tech slipped to 1-7 overall in 2012 with all eight matches on the road, and the schedule returns to the road next weekend for the Samford Invitational.
On Saturday, Tech lost a morning match to IUPUI, 25-10, 25-18 and 25-16, as the Jaguars improved to 6-4.
The Jaguars quickly established Kelsey Hoefer, Moriah Fair and Bethany Fogler in the early going as the trio each registered at least two kills helping IUPUI sprint out to a 10-5 lead. Four Tech attack errors and a Kortni Wright kill followed, pushing the Jags lead to 15-5. The IUPUI lead grew to as many as 15 and that proved to be the final margin as the Jaguars took the first set, 25-10.
The Golden Eagles put up a much stiffer fight in the second set, controlling the early portion before reaching a 15-15 tie. IUPUI got four kills from Fair and Tech made two bad sets, resulting in a seven-point Jaguar run and a 22-15 lead. It proved to be the difference in the set as IUPUI took a 25-18 win.
A pair of aces and two Golden Eagle attack errors helped IUPUI take a 5-1 lead in the third set, and that lead grew to five, 14-9. A Tech timeout helped turn the momentum and a three-point run cut the Jags lead to two, 15-13. IUPUI came back from a timeout with a three-point run of its own to reestablish a five-point cushion at 18-13. From there, the Jags cruised to a 25-16 and the three-set win.
Natalie Penrod received all-tournament honors and led Tech with eight kills and three block assists. Kelsey Gray had six kills and four block assists. Tech also got four block assists from Katrina Dvorken and three from Madison Keys as the Golden Eagles finished with eight total team blocks. Courtney Smith led the back line with 16 digs.
Tech's assignment didn't get any easier in the afternoon, facing No. 10 ranked Dayton in the final match of the tournament after the flyers had suffered back-to-back losses – their first losses of the year.
The Flyers wasted little time getting back to their winning ways. Behind a season-high 11-kill performance from junior Shayne Brown, Dayton defeated the Golden Eagles in three sets, 25-11, 25-12, 25-21.
Brown converted 11 of 12 kill attempts for an astounding .917 hitting percentage. The Flyers as a team hit .284 and limited the Golden Eagles to .057.
Freshman Janna Krafka recorded 13 kills and added two of the team's seven service aces. Samantha Selksy added 43 assists and eight digs, while Isolde Hannan and senior Rachel Krabacher tallied eight kills each.
Tech managed a solid .250 hitting mark in the first set but the Flyers connected for a .485 mark. Tech slipped to a negative hitting percentage in the second set, before bouncing back in the third set with a .118 mark. Despite facing the long odds, the Golden Eagles rallied in the third set before losing by a narrow, 25-21 score.
Tech was led on the attack by Penrod and Keyes with five kills each while Dvorken led at the net with one block solo and five block assists.