CLEVELAND, Tenn. – After a tough strength of schedule to open the season, which included a pair of top-25 opponents in No. 15 Michigan and No. 24 Louisville, the Tennessee Tech volleyball program made a statement on Saturday as they secured their first two victories of the season in a pair of sweeps over the North Alabama Lions and the Manhattan Jaspers to close out the Chattanooga Classic on Saturday.
Tennessee Tech 3 – North Alabama 0
The Golden Eagles opened the match in dominant fashion as they secured an 8-1 lead. The Lions would cut the deficit to six, 10-4, but that was as close as things would get in the opening frame as Tech closed the game on a 15-7 run to take the set, 25-11.
The second set was a different story as the Golden Eagles and Lions battled to an 8-8 tie. However, Tech found success on a 5-1 run to break things out to a 13-9 lead. The Golden Eagles would maintain the advantage in route to a 2-0 lead and the 25-17 win.
The Golden Eagles recorded three-straight points to take control of the third, 3-0. Tech would then produce a 7-2 run to take the seven-point advantage, 10-3, and get a glimpse of pulling off the sweep. Tech continued to lay it and would put away the match as they steamrolled to a 25-9 victory and complete the straight-set victory over the Lions, 3-0.
Junior Ali Verzani was an offensive juggernaut for the Golden eagles as she hit for .414 and tallied a team-high 15 kills. Sophomore Taylor Dorsey led the team in hitting percentage with a .429 and earning eight kills and a season-high five blocks. Carly Skrabak led the Golden Eagles, recording a career-high 20 digs, while Ashley Hand led with a match-high 31 assists.
Tennessee Tech 3 – Manhattan 0
The opening frame began with a 2-2 standstill before the Golden Eagles would break things open on a 12-3 run to take the 14-5 lead. The Jaspers battled back as they would outscore the Golden Eagles over the remainder of the set, 13-11, but Tech's nine-point advantage would hold as they took the first set 25-18.
Tech opened the second with three-straight points to take a three-point advantage, 3-0, however, the Jaspers responded with a 5-2 run to knot things up at five. The Golden Eagles would take back the lead until the Jaspers would close things back within one at 13-12. Tech would extend their lead back to three, 20-17, but a 5-3 rally would bring the Jaspers within one yet again, 23-22. However, the Golden Eagles would lock things down with kills from Rachel Thomas and Dorsey to take the two-set advantage, 25-23.
Much like the earlier sets, Tech would open things on a 6-3 run to begin the set. However, Manhattan would score three unanswered to bring the set to a 6-6 tie. Tech responded with four unanswered of their own to retake the 11-6 lead. The Golden Eagles maintained the momentum as the would continue their run going 4-1 to lead 15-7. The Jaspers wouldn't go down easy as they would outscore the Golden Eagles 15-10, but it wasn't enough as Tech would close out the 25-22 set and take the second sweep of the day.
Verzani and Dorsey continued to put on an offensive clinic in the match against the Jaspers as they recorded 14 kills and 11 kills, hitting .286 and .364, respectively. Skrabak tallied 14 digs and Hand dished out 35 assists in the Golden Eagles three-set win.
The Golden Eagles return home next weekend as they prepare for their home opener and host the Golden Eagle Invitational Presented by Quality Inn & Suites on Friday, Sept. 20 and Saturday, Sept. 21.