Host Jacksonville State claims season's second meeting with Tech

Host Jacksonville State claims season's second meeting with Tech

By Layne Weitzel, TTU Sports Information

JACKSONVILLE, Ala. – Tennessee Tech volleyball met with Jacksonville State for the second time this season on Wednesday night, having opened conference play with the Gamecocks at home back in late September.

JSU took the latest meeting between it and Tech, defeating the Golden Eagles in three sets (25-18, 25-20, 25-14).

Prior to tonight's match, the earliest in the week Tech had played was on a Thursday –  coincidentally, that first league match against the Gamecocks.

"We tend to go light on Mondays because our practices are pretty hard Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday," said head coach Dave Zelenock. "When you play on Wednesday, you don't get that – not that it's a rest day, but it's just lighter on our jumping and swinging. That's why it's kind of nice we're playing Friday (versus Southeast Missouri), so we'll get some extra rest heading into the following week."

Tech hit .216 and .217 as a team in the first and second sets respectively, but JSU (19-11, 5-6 OVC) held the Golden Eagles to a total clip of .163 through the entire match. Shaneice James led offensively for Tech with 11 kills and a .348 hitting percentage. In Tech's last three matches, James has totaled an individual hitting percentage of .340 with 22 kills and just four errors in 53 attempts.

Rachel Thomas added three blocks and libero Kirsten Brugere 21 digs.

"Their (Jacksonville State's) lineup has been a little bit in flux but basically the same personnel," said Zelenock. "For us, it's completely different – it's a different set of kids; it's a different rotation completely as we get some kids back and we lose some. Last time, we didn't have Shaneice – this time, she led us in kills. Last time, we had a couple kids that we didn't really have tonight.

"We're in a new lineup. This actually was our first match in it. We did really well those first two sets. The third set got away from us. They're huge, and they got a chance to slow us down. We're a smaller team right now, so we're playing really fast. They recognized that and slowed it down and let their physical size just kind of dominate us in that third one."

In the opening set on Wednesday night, the score stayed nearly even until midway through. Tied 14-14, Jacksonville State rattled off four-straight points to take an 18-14 lead. Tech would score just four more times, and JSU took the set win at 25-18.

Tech started off slow to begin the second set, allowing JSU to go ahead 5-1 before stopping the match for a timeout. The Golden Eagles slowly crept back into the set, tying the score at 9-9 and then taking a 15-13 lead. A pair of kills and a block from the Gamecocks gave them a 16-15 advantage, but Abigail Duncan would tie the set again with a kill of her own. JSU pulled ahead further with three-straight scores to make it 19-16, and Tech closed the gap with a pair of kills from Susie Jeziorowski and Shealene Little. However, a 6-2 run by Jacksonville State to close the set would give it the win at 25-20.

Jacksonville State took control in the third and final set, hustling out to a 3-0 start before a service error gave Tech its first point. JSU service errors gifted Tech three points to start the set before another Duncan kill set the score at 6-4 JSU. Three-straight Gamecock kills put JSU further ahead at 9-4, and the host Gamecocks further built on their lead throughout the set. With Jacksonville State leading 22-9, Tech put up four-straight points in a last-ditch effort, but JSU closed out the set on a 3-1 run to take the set and match 25-14.

Tech will return to Cookeville to face Southeast Missouri (9-16, 4-7 OVC) on Friday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. CT.
Photo by Jim Dillon