Nashville, Tenn. - Coming off of a perfect 3-0 week, the Tennessee State volleyball team hopes to keep its momentum rolling when the Tigers host Murray State and Austin Peay this weekend.
Last week, TSU pulled off a come-from-behind 3-2, upset win over Memphis at home on Oct 16. Then, the squad traveled to Jacksonville State where the team avenged its loss from earlier in the year with a 3-1 win over the Gamecocks. The Tigers closed the week by sweeping Tennessee Tech, 3-0.
The strong week brings TSU's record to 13-10 against all opponents and 7-3 versus conference foes. TSU's 7-3 mark in the OVC is the tied for the best start in school history, matching the 2007 OVC Championship team's record.
A major factor in the Tigers' hot start has been the play of junior setter Erika Moss. The Fort Wayne, Ind. native currently leads the OVC in assists per set during conference matches with 11.18. She has also tallied at least 30 assists in her last nine matches including 117 in a two-game stretch on Oct. 12-13.
Moss has been setting the ball up perfectly for the Tigers and the team's attackers have been reaping the benefits. Sophomores Naomi Wells and Rachel Ambroch both currently rank in the top-ten in the conference in kills per set, and Wells has recorded at least 10 kills in her past eight matches. Fellow sophomore Sherryce Butler has also been an offensive force for the team and now has 217 kills on the season.
Adding to the offense has been TSU's conference leading 1.49 service ace per set average. Ambroch (.45 aces per set in OVC matches) and senior libero Britani Hathorn (.42 aces per set in OVC matches) currently rank first and third, respectively, in the OVC in aces per set.
Hathorn is also eighth in the conference in digs per set with 4.84.
First up for the Tigers this weekend will be the Racers of Murray State (4-16, 2-8 OVC). Murray State is coming off of a winless week that saw the team get swept by both Eastern Illinois and SIUE. Taylor Olden recorded a team-high 21 kills over the two matches to go with 11 digs. Jodie Klein paced the defense with 26 digs.
TSU won the last meeting with the Racers 3-0 on Nov. 11 of last season, but the Tigers are only 8-42 against Murray State all-time.
On Saturday, TSU will square off against Austin Peay (13-13, 6-4 OVC) who just split a pair of OVC road matches last week, defeating SIUE in five sets and falling to Eastern Illinois also in five sets. Senior Nikki Doyle posted back-to-back 20-kill performances and is now fourth in the conference with 3.58 kills per set. Sophomore Jada Stotts recorded 32 kills during the week, including 19 against SIUE to pull her into second place in the conference in kills per set.
Austin Peay is currently leading the conference in hitting percentage (.224) and is second in assists (12.18 per set).
The action begins on Oct. 26 against Murray State at 7 p.m. in Kean Hall and continues on Saturday against Austin Peay at 12 p.m.
Fans are encouraged to wear pink to the matches this weekend in supports of breast cancer awareness.