By Jocelyn VerVelde, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Tech volleyball team returns home this weekend for two Ohio Valley Conference matches, hosting Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky. Tech will face Morehead State Friday night at 7 p.m. CDT and EKU at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
The Golden Eagles are coming off of a 3-1 loss to Belmont last Friday.
"We played three very good sets at Belmont and came up short," said head coach Dave Zelenock. "But as a group we are happy with how we competed. The goal now is to carry that forward and improve on it. Being at home lets us be in a comfortable setting where we are used to playing well at practice, so we have to find a way to make that carry over to the games."
The offense was led by junior Ellen Conti and sophomore Cody Dodd, who each put down 11 kills. Conti hit an impressive .323, adding eight digs and three blocks, while Dodd added four aces. The defense was led by junior libero Courtney Smith who tallied 18 digs and junior Madison Keyes tallied six blocks.
What's In Store This Weekend
"When scouting Eastern Kentucky and Morehead, it helps in that we've play these both these teams recently so there are not many changes to how they play," said Zelenock. "However, it hurts that we lost to them, and we are trying to make big changes for the next matches, and there is a very short amount of time to do so."
Versus Morehead State
Morehead State is undefeated in conference play entering this weekend. Sitting in first place in the OVC, the 19-6, 10-0 Eagles lead the conference in opponents hitting percentage (.138) for the entire season, and they did just that as they held the Golden Eagles to a .011 hitting percentage in the first match-up between these two squads. Tech will need to increase their offense while maintaining the intangibles that helped them score points last time (six aces in the last match, as well as eight blocks).
Versus Eastern Kentucky
Eastern Kentucky enters the weekend in third place in the East and 5-5 in OVC play. Last time out the Colonels swept the Golden Eagles up in Richmond, Ky. EKU was led by Ashley Edmond who put down 12 kills on an impressive .308 hitting percentage. Edmond's impressive percentage helped lead the Colonels to .365 hitting percentage for the match, putting down 40 kills, and just nine errors. Tech will need to force the Colonels into tougher situations to create more errors, while limiting their own errors.
Things You Should Know
Golden Eagles in the rankings
Juniors Courtney Smith and Madison Keyes both enter the weekend ranked in the OVC. Smith is currently sitting in third in digs per set (4.90) in OVC matches, while Keyes ranks sixth in hitting percentage at .296. Joining them in the rankings are senior setter Ashleigh Hancock who ranks tenth in assists per set (9.10), and senior Natalie Penrod who sits in fourth in the kills per set category at 3.48.
Quotes from Coach
"Right now we are very focused on us. We haven't really watched much film of opponents because as a group we feel that most of the losses we have were caused by us. There have been very few times where we felt like an opponent did something great to beat us, we have been shooting ourselves in the foot most of the time. So the players are watching film on themselves, each other, and the team in general and trying to fix some of the issues that we had the last time we played these teams. What motivates this team is that they know they have a lot of talent and they are just trying to get it to break through and let everyone else see it."
The Tennessee Tech volleyball team is looking to increase its followers on both Facebook and Twitter. Facebook followers will have the chance to see fun videos from the team as well as highlight videos from previous weeks. Twitter followers can engage with the coaches and can be kept up-to-date with happenings the squad is partaking in. The TTU volleyball twitter handle is @TNTechVball and the Facebook page can be found by searching Tennessee Tech Women's Volleyball.