NASHVILLE, Tenn. –Volleyball is coming off of one of their best performances of the year, stunning Memphis in a five set thriller. Now, the Tigers hope to carry their momentum into their four game OVC home stand.
Tuesday night in Memphis, things looked bleak for Tennessee State as the team headed to the locker room down 2-0, without taking the lead at any point in the first two sets of the match. Just 15 minutes and a water break later the tide had turned.
Coach Kathy Roulhac and her team came out with a charge winning the following two sets, 27-25, 26-24, to even the match at two sets apiece.
TSU completed in the rally in the fifth frame closing out Memphis 15-12.
Junior outside hitter Naomi Wells paced the Tigers with 17 kills and 19 digs for her seventh double-double of the season and her second in a row. The Huntsville, Ala. native leads the Tigers in both kills 224 kills and a 3.67 kills per set average.
Wells pairs with senior setter Erika Moss to propel the Tigers dynamic attack. Moss’ name is littered throughout the Tennessee State record books when it comes to assists holding the career mark as well as holding two of the top assists seasons in school history.
The Tennessee State block has come on as of late with junior middle blocker Sherryce Butler leading the charge. In Tuesday’s win, Butler posted ten block assists to go along with 12 kills. The Lexington, Ky. native has totaled 46 total blocks on the season.
On Friday night, the Tigers will welcome western division foe, UT Martin (8-14, 2-4), for the annual Dig Pink Game. The Skyhawks come in to the matchup on a three game skid dropping matches to Tennessee Tech, Murray State and Austin Peay.
Freshman Madison Wessling racked up a game high to lead the team last time out in a 3-0 loss to Austin Peay.
The Skyhawks are led by junior outside hitter Emily Keaton, who has posted a team high 236 kills on the year. UT Martin as a team ranks fourth in kills per match, averaging 12.36 kills each contest.
TSU will return to action the following day for an afternoon contest with Southeast Missouri State (10-11, 3-3). The Redhawks come in to weekend play riding a two game win streak dropping Murray State, 3-0, over the weekend following the performance with a five set win over A10 foe Saint Louis.
The story of the year for Southeast has been their effort on the block and that continued Tuesday night against the Bilikens, with the Redhawks rejecting the A10 team 18 times, with six solo blocks. Sophomore transfer Taylor Masterson had 10 block assists, two block solos for 12 total blocks to lead the charge. Junior Kelsey Keeve picked up seven blocks of her own with six block assists.
On the year the Redhawks are the best team in the conference in terms of blocks per game, with 2.52 per set. Southeast’s average is nearly a half of block more than Morehead State (2.03) which ranks second in the OVC. Masterson combined with senior Emily Coon rank within the OVC’s top ten in blocks per set, with Masterson ranking first (1.16) and Coon ranking fifth (0.95).
The Tigers will continue OVC play on Tuesday when they play host to east division rival Tennessee Tech. Tuesday’s match will be played at nearby Pearl-Cohn High School, with first serve slated for 6 p.m.