Volleyball hosts EIU and SIUE

After being on the road for several weeks, Tennessee Tech women’s volleyball team will finally get a chance to play on their home court. The Golden Eagles will take on Eastern Illinois Friday, followed by Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Saturday.

The match against Eastern Illinois will be held at 7 p.m. in the Hooper Eblen Center. The Eastern Illinois Panthers are 6-7 overall on their season, while the Golden Eagles have a record of 15-11. This will be the first Ohio Valley Conference matchup of the season for both teams. The Panthers are currently ranked fifth in the OVC standings, five spots ahead of the Golden Eagles who sit at 10th.

“We’ve had a rough preconference,” said head coach David Zelenock. ”But as I just told the girls we are 0-0 now. It’s nice to be able to have a fresh start.”

Tech lost a nonconference match up against Western Kentucky in three sets Sept. 23. The Golden Eagles played tough in the first set, losing 18-25. The Hilltoppers dominated the next two sets, outscoring Tech 20-50.

“Going into conference play, we are going to take what worked and learn from what didn’t,” said Ellen Conti, senior outside hitter for the team. “We can only go up and we are ready for that challenge!”

The match against the SIUE Cougars, which will take place at 4 p.m. in the Hooper Eblen Center, will be the Golden Eagle’s second conference matchup of the season. The Cougars’ average 11.86 kills per set, which is slightly higher than the Golden Eagles who average 10.62 kills. The Golden Eagles, not to be outdone, average 2.14 blocks per set compared to the Cougars’ stat of 1.68 blocks.

“We’re going up against, in our opinion, the best two teams in the conference,” said Zelenock. “We’ve got two seniors still at the bench for injuries, so as it stands we will have a lot of freshmen out there, and probably be a little jittery.”

The two seniors out for injury are Conti and defensive specialist Allison May.

“We’re used to playing on the road and we’re used to having fans yell at us, so playing at home will take some getting used to, honestly,” said Zelenock.

The Golden Eagles will play 8 of the next 17 conference games at home, with the conference tournament location to be decided.

“I love volleyball, and now that conference games have started I will get a chance to watch and cheer on some of my friends at home games,” said Maddi Everts, a junior on the women’s golf team.

“We’re all excited to play back on a familiar court,” said Conti. “Now that it’s conference play, it makes everyone more competitive and ready to prove ourselves in the OVC.”