The Tennessee Tech volleyball team faced three worthy foes this past week in Tennessee State, Belmont University and Jacksonville State.
The Golden Eagles hit the road, going to Nashville to face TSU Friday night and Belmont Saturday afternoon.
Tech, despite being down 2-1, was able to hold off the Tigers in a thrilling five-set match, completing the season sweep of TSU. In the final set, Tech was able to get momentum and start off with a 6-0 lead that would prove crucial in the final result. Junior Cody Dodd led the rest of the players with 20 kills, her third 20+ performance of the season. Along with Dodd, freshman Kellie Williams finished the match with 16 kills, four of which came in the final set to propel the Golden Eagles over the Tigers.
Sophomore Sharon Anderson reached the 1000-assists mark this season after adding 48 against TSU, while teammate and senior libero Courtney Smith completed the match with 24 digs, a match-high.
Saturday proved to be a tougher task when Tech attempted to down the second-ranked Belmont Bruins. Smith, who would also win the OVC Defensive Player of the Week, finished the match with an impressive, game-high 30 digs against a tough Belmont team. The Golden Eagles were unable to overcome the early first-set loss, going on to lose in straight sets. Even though she went on to lead the team with 12 kills, Dodd was not up to par with the stellar performances she has shown in her previous games.
Finishing the weekend with a 1-1 record, the Golden Eagles made their way back to the Hooper Eblen Center to take on Jacksonville State, a team they lost to in September.
Tech was able to get hot early, starting the first set with a 10-3 lead. The team carried the momentum to a first set win over the Gamecocks with a respectable .419 hitting percentage. The team flourished behind Dodd, who recorded six kills and seven total points in the first set alone.
In the second set, the Gamecocks replied with an equally impressive 5-1 second-set start of their own. JSU’s Allyson Zuhlke recorded five kills in the second set, leading her team to a point where they had Tech down 15-9. The Golden Eagles tried to rally back, but it came a little too late. The Gamecocks would go on to win the second set 25-22. However, this would be the only set Jacksonville State would win.
Dodd would go on to continue her dominant performance, but she wasn’t the only one with hefty contributions. Setter Sharon Anderson would finish the night with 48 assists and 19 digs. Smith racked up eight assists and another 17 digs. Tech went on to win the next two sets, both ending with a score of 25-22 in favor of the Golden Eagles.
Dodd’s performance would end up being one for her personal record books, tying career-high 30 kills. Last time Dodd finished with 30 kills, it took five sets.
“I wanted to win really badly,” said Dodd. “A team win in four sets was worth much more than possibly breaking a personal record in five.”
With the win, Tech sealed their spot in the OVC Tournament for the first time in the players’ careers.
The Golden Eagles will be honoring their seniors this Saturday when they play their final regular season game against UT Martin at the Eblen Center.