Mobile, Ala. – The Tennessee State volleyball team opened the 2013 campaign with a tough 3-1 loss to South Alabama on Friday evening at the Jaguar Invitational in Mobile, Ala. The Tigers (0-1) were even at the break, but dropped the last two games as they fell in the match 15-25, 25-22, 17-25, 23-25.
Junior Naomi Wells led the way with 18 kills and 12 digs. Taylor Swayzer notched 11 kills in her first match as a Tiger, while junior Sherryce Butler added ten. Freshman Arijana Anderson led TSU with a .500 hitting percentage (8k-1e-14a) as senior setter Erika Moss had 43 assists.
In the first game, the Tigers got off to a slow start and trailed 7-0 before Anderson registered the first kill of her career. Wells followed with a kill of her own to cut the lead to 7-2, but the Jaguars kept the pressure on and took advantage of four Tiger errors to build a 12-4 margin. After a timeout by head coach Kathy Roulhac, the tigers scored three of the next four points cutting the deficit to six. That would be as close as TSU would get as USA secured a 25-15 win.
South Alabama took advantage of a .538 hitting percentage in game one as they had 15 kills opposed to one error in 26 attempts. TSU hit .200 (11-6-25) during the first stanza.
The Tigers scored two points right out of the gate in game two. Wells opened with a kill and was followed by the first ace of Taylor Patterson’s career. TSU continued to set the pace as they used kills by Butler, Wells, Moss, Anderson and Shuantia Carr to take a 11-6 lead, forcing the Jaguars to call a timeout. USA picked up two quick points out of the break, but the Tigers responded with four of their own to extend the lead to 15-8. South Alabama would get back in the game with a 12-6 run cutting the lead to one, 21-20.
A kill by Butler and a block by Carr and Swayzer extended the lead to 23-20 and forced South Alabama to call their final timeout. Swayzer pushed the score to 24-20 with a kill, but USA tried to make a run scoring the next two points. The junior transfer would end the game with a kill giving TSU a 25-22 win and evened the match at 1-1 as the team’s entered the locker room.
The Big Blue saw their success come from a strong game at the net as they hit .395 on 17 kills and two errors in 38 attempts. USA was able to record 12 kills but TSU held them to a .235 average.
The Tigers once again started fast as Anderson used a kill and a block to help open a 3-0 lead. The Jaguars used a 3-0 run of their own to tie the game at 3-3. The teams would trade points until USA was able to gain an 11-9 lead. Wells would get the Tigers back to even with back-to-back kills. Anderson followed with a put-away to give TSU a 12-11 lead. The Jaguars would take control of the game and closed out with a 14-6 run. The 25-17 win by USA gave the host team a 2-1 advantage.
For the third straight game, the Tigers took an early lead 6-2 lead on kills by Anderson, Wells, Swayzer and Butler, as well as a block by Moss. With TSU leading 7-4, the Jaguars surged for six straight points and took a 7-10 lead. The Tigers were able to track USA down with a pair of kills by Wells and a service ace by Katie Burnett. The two teams traded blows until Wells scored a kill and a block to help TSU take a 21-20 lead. The Jaguars countered with a three point run only to see the Tigers battle back behind a kill by Wells to square the game at 23-23. USA used a kill to side-out and take the lead before scoring their ninth ace of the night to close out the match 25-23.
As a team, TSU finished the night with 52 kills and 20 errors in 128 attempts for a .250 hitting percentage.
The Tigers return to the court at 10:00am versus Georgia Southern and closes out play at 4:30pm against Southern Utah.