Jocelyn VerVelde, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
ROCK HILL, S.C. – The Tennessee Tech volleyball team finally had the opportunity to suit up and take the court for the first time Friday night in their first match of the Winthrop Invitational. Facing host Winthrop proved to be no easy task as the Golden Eagles lost in three sets.
"We started every set very well, passing well, swinging fast and being aggressive like we have done in practice," said first-year head coach Dave Zelenock. "But right about the mid-point of each set, we would have a passing breakdown and they would go on a three- or four-point run and we couldn't get the energy back. We made some substitutions, and they provided sparks but it was not enough to get all the energy back."
And that's just what happened.
The Golden Eagles opened up set one trading points with the Eagles, including three straight kills by sophomore Cody Dodd, senior Elise Robertson, and senior Natalie Penrod. Finally Winthrop went on a run, pulling away from the Golden Eagles to win the first set 25-16.
Set two started the same way. The Golden Eagles fought close with host Winthrop, even leading 13-11. But then the Eagles went on a six-point run, followed by a seven-point run, and ended the game winning by a 25-15 count.
Out of the break, the Golden Eagles needed some fight. Starting out down 11-4, the Golden Eagles ralled to bring it to 16-13, down just three. But the fight was not enough. Tech lost the third set, 25-18.
Penrod led the Golden Eagles with six kills and Dodd added five, hitting .300.
"The teams we play tomorrow are dramatically different than we played today," said Zelenock. "Winthrop was the fastest team I have ever coached against. Fordham is very technical and Savannah State has some nice athletes on their team and both teams are under new coaches, both learning how to win, just as we are."
On Saturday the Golden Eagles take on Savannah State at 9 a.m. CDT and Fordham at 3:30 p.m.