By Jonathan Caudle, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech volleyball earned a win over the Eastern Kentucky Colonels after a five-set slugfest on Friday evening at the Hooper Eblen Center.
The win gives the Golden Eagles a 2-1 record in OVC play and a 6-10 record overall, while the Eastern Kentucky Colonels drop to 6-12 overall and 1-3 in league play.
"Last year, EKU was gritty and we didn't match up well against them. That was in the back of our minds," said head coach Jeannette Waldo. "We knew they were going to be a tough team, dig everything, and put up a tough fight. It wasn't a pretty one, but it was definitely an important win for us."
Ali Verzani and Ashley Hand led the Golden Eagles in the matchup, tallying a pair of double-doubles in the win. Verzani tallied a game-high 16 kills, while also digging out 15 balls. Hand tallied a match-high 47 assists, in addition to 18 digs. She also tallied a team-high three service aces to go along with a pair of kills. Rachel Thomas produced a phenomenal .364 hitting percentage, while also tallying a second-best 14 kills. Defensively, Carly Skrabak anchored the back row with a game-high 24 digs and Taylor Dorsey was a force at the net, tallying eight blocks in the win.
The Colonels opened the game on a 7-1 run to take a large opening lead in the first. The Golden Eagles battled back to score six unanswered and bring things even at seven. The set would then turn into a back-and-forth battle as the match would be evened up following Tech's set-point at 24-24. Eastern Kentucky would tally a pair of kills to take a 1-0 lead, 26-24.
Tech took advantage of three Colonel errors to lead 3-0 to open the second set. Eastern Kentucky would bring things even at four and things remained that way through a 7-7 tie. A kill from Emily Brooks started a 9-1 run for the Golden Eagles that gave Tech an eight-point advantage and sparked a Colonel timeout. Eastern Kentucky struggled to close the gap as the Golden Eagles outscored the Colonels 9-8 to even the match at one, 25-16.
The Golden Eagles maintained their momentum into the third set as they opened the third set on an 8-1 run. Eastern Kentucky would battle back to eventually bring the set within a point, 19-18, but six unanswered Golden Eagle points would seal the set and give Tech the 2-1 lead, 25-18.
The fourth set opened to a slugfest as both squads battled to a 10-10 standstill. Eastern Kentucky then went on a 6-1 run, but the Golden Eagles would get three back to put things at a two-point EKU lead, 16-14. Five-straight Colonel points would push things to 22-14, before both squads would tally three points apiece to bring the match even at two, 25-17.
The Golden Eagles locked in during the final set as they produced an incredible 9-0 run to open the fifth set and put the match nearly out of reach for the Colonels. Eastern Kentucky would outscore the Golden Eagles 7-6, but the deficit was too large to overcome as the Golden Eagles would take the 3-2 victory, 15-7.
The Golden Eagles return to the court tomorrow at 2 p.m. as they host the Morehead State Eagles.
Photo by Thomas Corhern