Volleyball serves up OVC success

Two weekend trips to Kentucky were successful for the Tennessee Tech volleyball team. Tech began last weekend with a win at Morehead State Oct. 17. The victory was the first time the Golden Eagles defeated Morehead on their court since Oct. 17 2009. Outside hitters Cody Dodd and Kellie Williams dominated, combining for 29 kills.

Williams shined again Saturday against Eastern Kentucky with 22 kills, which lead the team and was a game high. Tech had to endure five sets with EKU, who is ranked second in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Golden Eagles finally put them away 15-6 in the final set. Nov. 11, 2011 was the last time Tech defeated the Colonels in Richmond prior to Saturday’s match up. The match was also the third straight conference win for the Golden Eagles who are now 5-3 in OVC play. Coach Dave Zelenock highlights consistency as the reason for the team’s recent success.

“We have hit a little stride here where we are fairly consistent,” says Zelenock. “Our passing is pretty good. Our setting is pretty good. We are fairly low in hitting errors while still being aggressive. I think that has been the key.”

The team’s confidence has also received a boost following their early success. Last year, the team finished with only one conference win. During this year’s campaign, the Golden Eagles are halfway through the conference schedule and already own five victories. Young talent has made an impact early this season. Freshman middle blocker Jordan Wachowiak leads the team with a .217 hitting percentage and averages the most blocks per set with 1.19.

“It [confidence] is definitely high, especially coming off of what they had been used to in years past and knowing that our class is really making a difference here,” said Wachowiak.

A bizarre schedule has the Golden Eagles facing EKU and Morehead again this weekend at the Hooper Eblen Center. Senior Courtney Smith is expecting to see an EKU team with some extra motivation.

“I think its exciting to play them back to back because it will really show our character and their character,” said Smith. “They are definitely going to come back mad and come into our home court and want to beat us the same way we did to them.”

The play at the libero position will be key in today’s match up. Smith is ranked second in the OVC in digs while EKU’s libero, Dena Ott, is ranked first.

Tech will face a talented but struggling Morehead State team Saturday. Morehead is currently 0-22 and sitting at last place in the OVC.

“I do not know how they are 0-22,” said Zelenock. “Their middles and rights can score pretty much at will. They have got very aggressive outsides.”

Today’s contest with the Colonels begins at 7 p.m., and Saturday’s match against Morehead State will start at 4 p.m.