Nashville, Tenn. - After splitting a pair of conference road matches last week, the Tennessee State volleyball team (10-10, 5-3 OVC) gets a brief respite from OVC play tonight when the squad hosts Memphis before returning to the road this weekend.
The Tigers will square off against Memphis tonight at 6 p.m. and then prepare for matches at Jacksonville State on Oct. 19 and Tennessee Tech on Oct. 20.
Last week, the Tigers defeated UT Martin 3-1, but lost a closely-contested five-set match to Southeast Missouri.
Sophomore outside hitter Naomi Wells led the Tigers in kills in the match against UT Martin with 18 and followed that with 13 in the loss at SEMO. She now has a team-high 265 kills on the season and is second in the OVC with an average of 4.11 points per set.
Wells wasn't alone in recording double-digit kills in each match over the weekend. TSU had four players reach double figures during both contests including sophomores Rachel Ambroch and Sherryce Butler and freshman Lindsay Hornsby. Ambroch has recovered nicely from her knee injury and is now ninth in the OVC with 2.89 kills per set. Meanwhile, Hornsby has finally found her groove in her first season at TSU and has racked up at least 10 kills in four of her last five matches.
Another standout performer from last weekend was junior setter Erika Moss who recorded a season-high 60 assists against UT Martin. She then added 57 assists against SEMO to give her 719 on the year. She currently ranks fifth in the conference with 9.85 assists per set, but she has really played well lately. Moss has recorded at least 30 assists in eight of the Tigers' last nine matches, and she has tallied 40-plus in four straight contests.
Defensively, senior libero Britani Hathorn has led the Tigers in digs all season, and she totaled 35 over the weekend including 24 versus UT Martin. The match against the Skyhawks marked the fourth time this season that Hathorn had eclipsed 20 digs in a single contest and it was also her fifth straight match with at least 10 digs.
Hathorn is also a main factor for the Tigers' OVC-leading 1.49 service aces per set average. The Portland Ore. native has recorded 25 aces on the year which is currently good enough for fifth in the conference.
Memphis comes into Kean Hall sporting a 7-15 record, but the squad is fresh off of a 3-2 victory over Southern Mississippi. Libero Aleksandra Petronijevic has led the Tigers as of late, having recorded at least 20 digs in three of her last four matches. She had 22 digs against Southern Miss. and ranks fourth in Conference USA with an average of 4.33 digs per set. TSU is 0-6 all-time against Memphis with the last meeting coming in 2010, but TSU has never played Memphis at home.
Jacksonville State (11-11, 5-3 OVC) is also coming off of a 1-1 week in the OVC after the squad fell to Morehead State in five sets and defeated Eastern Kentucky in five sets. Senior Hivya Leite led the team with 14 kills versus Morehead State and followed that up with her first career double-double with 17 kills and 14 digs against Eastern Kentucky. The Gamecocks are 1-0 against TSU this season after defeating the Tigers 3-1 on Oct. 6.
Tennessee Tech (2-18, 0-8 OVC) has also played the Tigers, but the TSU got the better of that matchup, winning 3-0. Last week, the Golden Eagles lost to four-set matches to Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State. Senior Kelsey Gray recorded 11 kills, eight blocks and a .364 hitting percentage against Eastern Kentucky. She followed that up with 12 kills and eight blocks against Morehead State.
The Tigers' matches this weekend are scheduled for a 7 p.m. start at Jacksonville State and 2 p.m. versus Tennessee Tech.
-- TSU Tigers --