Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessee State volleyball team hung on after winning the first two sets to defeat Eastern Kentucky, 3-2 (25-13, 25-23, 22-25, 22-25, 15-6) on senior day.
Seniors Britani Hathorn and Calasia Williams came out strong for TSU (16-12, 9-5 OVC), each recording double-digit digs in the five set thriller. Hathorn finished the match with a team-high 18 digs while Williams was third on the club with 11.
Offensively, four different Tigers had at least 10 kills and sophomores Naomi Wells and Rachel Ambroch led the way with 21 and 15, respectively.
Wells and Ambroch also each had double-doubles as Wells had 15 digs and Ambroch added 11 to go along with their kills.
Setter Erika Moss played a big part in the Tigers having four attackers in double-figures as the junior tallied 56 assists. That output was Moss’ highest since recording 57 in the win at Southeast Missouri on Oct. 13.
Ambroch started the match with an error, but then redeemed herself with a kill to tie the score at one. The set was still tied when TSU went on a 5-0 run that was highlighted by a service ace from freshman Jamie Cooper and a smash by fellow freshman Emilie Sandve Aase.
The Tigers continued their assault later in the first period, going up by six when Aase recorded her second kill of the match. The attack made the score 15-9, and a net violation on EKU (9-17, 5-9 OVC) during the next few points caused the Colonels to use their first timeout of the match.
The timeout couldn’t stop the Tigers as they raised their lead to as many as 12.
TSU was up by eleven late in the first period when a kill from Ambroch sealed the set for the Tigers.
TSU had four attackers record at least three kills during the opening frame, and Tennessee State finished the set with five service aces.
Wells got the Tigers started in the second period with a pair of smashes that were assisted by Moss. The attacks were part of a 6-2 start for the home team.
EKU went on an 8-3 run from there to take the lead, but a kill from Ambroch and an error on the Colonels gave TSU the lead again, 13-12.
The Tigers heeded head coach Kathy Rouhlac’s advice during a lat timeout and went on a 5-1 run to make the score 23-21 in their favor.
The Colonels came right back to tie the set at 23, but consecutive attacks that fell wide of the mark put TSU up 2-0.
The Tigers hit .222 in the second period, which was only half of their total during the previous set. However, the club benefitted from 4.5 blocks in period two.
TSU recorded only one block in set three and the team’s hitting percentage dipped again to .158.
The poor numbers from Tennessee State coupled with three 4-0 runs by EKU allowed the Colonels to take the third set 25-22.
The Tigers came out much better in the fourth set, and led 4-1 when EKU committed an error.
However, the Colonels eventually tied the score at 14 and then took the lead with a goof by sophomore Sherryce Butler.
TSU could not recover, and EKU tied the score at two sets apiece with a kill.
In the fifth and final set, the Tigers roared to six straight points before EKU finally got on the scoreboard.
TSU led 8-1 when the teams traded sides, and went on to clinch the match with an error by the Colonels.
Hear the 2012 TSU seniors' thoughts on the match, below:
The Tigers will next play on Nov. 6 when they play hosts to Belmont for the final home match of the season. The action is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. in Kean Hall.