COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Early runs by Tennessee State volleyball pushed the Tigers past Tennessee Tech in straight sets.
Paced by junior outside hitter Naomi Wells the Tigers posted their highest hitting percentage (.237) since its Sept. 17 win over Alabama A&M. Wells finished the match with a team high 13 kills in the win to go along with a blistering .346 kill percentage. Junior Sherryce Butler provided TSU with a dynamic one-two punch with the Lexington, Ky. native putting 10 kills on the board.
Tennessee State’s offense also used their service game to gain an advantage on the Golden Eagles, racking up eight aces on the evening. Senior Erika Moss, junior Katie Burnett and freshman Jamie Cooper each recorded two aces individually. Moss also dished out 30 assists to lead the Tigers in the category.
Defensively Tennessee State (5-10, 2-3) turned in their best performance of the season holding Tennessee Tech (5-10, 1-4) to just a a .048 hitting percentage, including a -.029 mark in the third set. The TTU hitting percentage was the lowest TSU has held any opponent this season. Junior Taylor Swayzer and freshman Shaunita Carr paced the defensive effort picking up three block assists a piece.
In the first set TSU raced out to a 22-7 lead taking control of the set. With the Tigers leading 9-6 Kathy Roulhac’s club used 13-1 spurt to extend the advantage out to a commanding 15 points. With Wells’ play igniting the Tigers picking up four kills in the stretch. During the run TSU sent two players back to serve, Jamie Cooper and Erika Moss, and each collected an ace.
The Golden Eagles wouldn’t back down as the used a 8-1 break to cut the TSU back down to eight at, 23-15. Two late errors by Tennessee Tech gave the Tigers the points they needed to withstand the rally and win the opening frame, 25-16.
The two OVC conference rivals would battle back-and-forth in the early goings of the second. With bloth teams locked in a 6-6 tie, Tennessee State used a 4-0 run to gain distance. Sherryce Butler paced the run with three kills of her own to put TSU up, 10-6.
Tennessee Tech would close back within two points, 11-9, but that would be the closest they got in the second set. Once again TSU would use an 11-2 set-changing run to grab a commanding 22-11 lead. The Golden Eagles would return the run late but would only get within seven at 24-17. A Butler kill would close the set to head to the locker room up 2-0 in sets after a 25-17 second stanza win.
Out of the break, Tennessee State took control of the third frame with a 15-4 start. Wells led the early charge with three kills in the span. TSU continued to dictate the pace throughout early parts of the third. TTU battled back late cutting the Tigers lead down to eight at 23-15.
Tennessee State answered the late Golden Eagle run with two straight late points to close out the frame and the match, 25-15 and 3-0 respectively.
Tennessee State continues life on the road tomorrow as they travel to Jacksonville State for another OVC tilt, first serve is set for 7 p.m.