By Jonathan Caudle, TTU Sports Information
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tech volleyball closed out their weekend in Nashville as they defeated the Tennessee State Tigers in straight-sets, 3-0 (25-22, 25-12, 25-22), on Saturday evening at Kean Hall.
The feat marked the Golden Eagles (8-11, 4-2 OVC) first back-to-back sweep since the 2010 season and the first back-to-back road sweeps in the same weekend since the 2008 season, which saw Tech defeat Tennessee State and Austin Peay on October 24 and 25.
The Golden Eagles finished the evening with a combined .277 hitting percentage. Junior Ali Verzani and sophomore Taylor Dorsey led Tech with a pair of game-high nine-kill performances. Sophomore setter Hand followed closely behind as she produced her best offensive performance of her career, hitting a phenomenal .700 and racking up eight kills, while dishing out a game-high 28 assists. Defensively, freshman Carly Skrabak led the back row with 13 digs, while Verzani recorded three of the team's six blocks.
The Golden Eagles recorded kills from Hand, Rachel Thomas, and Verzani to take the opening lead, 3-1. Tech would extend its lead to four following a kill from Emily Brooks, 7-3. Tennessee State would eventually bring the set back within one, 9-8, following a Tech error, but the Golden Eagles would bring the lead back to four to make it 13-9. The two squads battled back-and-forth until the Tigers went on a 4-0 run, following a 21-17 Tech lead, to even the set. Kills from Morgan Gish and Thomas, as well as a Tiger attack error and a Gish service ace closed out the opening set with a 4-1 run to give Tech a 1-0 lead.
The second set opened contrary to the first as the Tigers took the opening 3-1 lead, however, the Golden Eagles even things up on a pair of kills from Gish and Verzani. The set remained within one through a 7-6 Tech lead, before a Tiger attack error sparked a 3-0 Tech run to put the Golden Eagles up by four, 10-6. Tech would then produce a dominant offensive performance with 13 kills en route to a 15-6 run to close out the second frame and put the Golden Eagles up 2-0, 25-12.
Tech opened the third set on a 3-1, following a pair of kills from Dorsey and Hand, in addition to a Tiger attack error. Tech extended the lead its lead to four, 6-2, before Tennessee State would eventually bring the set even at eight. The Tigers would take their first lead of the set at 10-9, but the Golden Eagles rallied to a 4-1 run to retake the two-point advantage, 13-11. The set remained even through an 18-18 standstill, before the Golden Eagles would outscore Tennessee State 7-4 to close out the set and secure the sweep, 25-22.
The Golden Eagles remain on the road next weekend as they travel to Illinois to face Eastern Illinois on Friday, October 18 and SIUE on Saturday, October 19.
Photo by Thomas Corhern