NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After spending life on the road for the past two weeks, the Tigers will be a little closer to come when they take on Belmont Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Curb Event Center.
Tennessee State (10-15, 6-8) dropped two contests on the road to the OVC’s Western division powers Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky over the weekend.
On Friday junior Sherryce Butler led the offensive effort for TSU posting 13 kills in the 3-0 loss. Naomi Wells added eight kills and 10 digs on the night.
The next night the Tigers pushed EKU to the limit, forcing the contest to four sets. Tennessee State was paced by their veteran leaders Wells (14 kills and 10 digs) and senior Erika Moss (33 assists and 21 digs), both finishing with a double-double.
TSU now turns its attention to cross-town rival Belmont (17-13, 10-4). When the two met on Oct. 1 the Tigers won a thrilling five set contest. In that match Butler had a career day for TSU posting her career best in kills with 23, while hitting .370 from the floor, and tallying six blocks.
Since the two last met Tennessee State has posted a steady 6-6 record and the Bruins caught fire winning nine of their last 11 contests.
The story for TSU all season has been the ability for the Tigers’ offense led by Wells and Moss to create attacking opportunities. Wells on the year leads the OVC in both kills and points per set with 3.74 and 4.23 respectively. Whereas the catalyst of the Tigers’ attack Moss ranks third in assists averaging 10.34 helpers a contest.
For Belmont it has been their ability to turn a rough start into a strong finish. The Bruins were selected as the favorites to win the OVC at the beginning of the season. The cross-town team started 3-9 and bagain to turn things around heading into their conference slate at 7-9.
Conference play didn’t quite start with the bang that the Bruins would have wished, as they dropped three of their first four contests.
Then the Bruins rattled off nine straight wins before losing to Morehead State, who is undefeated in conference play, in five sets.
Belmont’s attack includes many options, with three players having hitting percentages that rank inside the conference’s top six spots. Leading the team is middle blocker Allison McCoy, the senior is averaging 2.43 kills per set while hitting a conference leading .373 from the field. McCoy also is a prolific blocker ranking eighth in the OVC with 0.83 roofs per set.
Following Wednesday’s match the Tigers will return home for senior day against SIU Edwardsville on Saturday, first serve is set for noon.