With a 1-3 start in conference play the Tigers have a chance to regroup this weekend against two East Division rivals. Friday TSU will to travel to nearby Cookeville for a matchup with Tennessee Tech (5-9, 1-3) to begin the weekend at 7 p.m. Tennessee State will close out the week with a trip to Jacksonville State (10-9, 1-3) Saturday with first serve set for 7 p.m.
Head coach Kath Roulhac’s offense is led by the dynamic combination of upperclassmen Erika Moss and Naomi Wells. Moss, the school’s all-time leader in assists is averaging 10.00 helpers per set ranking second in the OVC. On the end of many of those assists has been Naomi Wells. The junior from Huntsville, Ala. leads the OVC in kills per set with 3.54.
Taylor Swayzer comes into the weekend ranking fourth in the league with a .351 hitting percentage in league matches. In conference play Arjiana Anderson has continued her stellar play averaging 3.33 kills per set, the eighth best average in the OVC.
As a team, Tennessee State ranks in the top half in both kills per set (12.38) and assists per set (11.58).
The play of Sherryce Butller has elevated the team’s defensive effort in the start of OVC matches. Butler has racked up 15 blocks in the three conference matches posting a 1.00 block per set average. Her performances in OVC play have her ranked sixth in the league in blocks per set.
Tennessee Tech comes into Friday’s matchup with the Tigers off of a thrilling five set victory over UT Martin. Sophomore Audrey Lewis led the Golden Eagles attack with 14 kills in the match.
The Golden Eagles rank third in the conference in blocks with an average of 1.98 blocks per set. Middle blockers Madison Keyes and Cody Dodd lead the TTU block with an average of 0.93 and 0.83 blocks per set. Both Keyes (fifth) and Dodd (eighth) rank inside the conference’s top eight in blocks per set.
Tennessee Tech’s attack is headed by outside hitters Ellen Conti and Natalie Penrod who average 2.64 and 2.63 kills per set.
The Tigers will face a quick turnaround as they return to action Saturday at 7 p.m. for a road match-up with Jacksonville State.
JSU opened conference play with three consecutive wins knocking off Austin Peay, Murray State and Tennessee Tech. The Gamecocks dropped their most recent game, last weekend against Southeast Missouri, 3-0.
Offensively Emily Rutherford leads the Gamecocks in kills racking up 3.18 kills per frame, which ranks fifth in the OVC.
JSU has been aided by its stellar play on the block holding opponents to just a .183 hitting percentage, the second best opponent hitting percentage in the Ohio Valley Conference. Kelly Cole paces the defensive effort for Jacksonville State with an average 4.38 digs in a set, the fourth best average in the conference.
Big Blue continues their road trip Tuesday with an out of conference showdown against American Conference foe Memphis, first serve slated for 6 p.m.