By Layne Weitzel, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – In its four-match home stand opener Friday night, Tennessee Tech fell to state rival Belmont in four sets (15-25, 15-25, 25-22, 16-25).
Tech struggled to find an offensive rhythm throughout the match, although it managed to hit .220 during the set three win. However, the team totaled six service aces, 60 digs and six blocks.
"We served well all night," said head coach Dave Zelenock. "I thought we played pretty good team defense hustle-wise and execution-wise. We didn't have a lot of missed digs. I thought our blocking was pretty good all night."
One of Tech's bright spots turned out to be Jessica Oliver, who entered the game from the bench to lead the team with 20 digs and three service aces. She saw action in all four sets.
"I thought Jess was really good," said Zelenock. "She served great, she played great defense, and she's a sparkplug everywhere she goes."
The Golden Eagles got off to a 4-1 lead to open the first set, but Belmont (9-7, 4-1 OVC) tied the score and pulled ahead to take a 10-6 lead. Tech answered with a 4-1 run to trail just 11-10, but one point was at close as it would get – Belmont won the opening set 25-15.
The Bruins also led for nearly all of the second set, totaling a sideout percentage of 80 percent and scoring four of its 10 service aces on the night. They took the second set also by a score of 25-15.
Following intermission, the score was tied 8-all before Tech broke through to take an 11-8 lead. Belmont scored three-straight points to tie 11-11, and the two teams would either be tied or one point down until Tech developed a four-point lead at 19-15. Belmont knotted the score again at 19-19 and stayed close until a 3-0 run from Tech ended the set at 25-22 Golden Eagles.
Down 9-8 in the fourth set, a 6-0 run from the Bruins put them ahead 14-9. They went on to open up a bigger lead at 19-12. Tech would score four points in the remainder of the set to fall 25-16.