Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee State volleyball team (15-12, 8-5 OVC) couldn't snap Morehead State's 18-game winning streak, as the Tigers fell to the Eagles 3-1 (13-25, 25-18, 20-25, 24-26).
Sophomore Naomi Wells led the Tigers with 17 kills while Rachel Ambroch and Sherryce Butler added 10 and eight, respectively.
Wells also recorded a double-double by adding 10 digs along with her kill total. She was one of four Tigers with double-digit digs, but senior Britani Hathorn led them all with 21.
Junior Erika Moss also had a solid match at setter, recording 42 assists. It was her third 40-plus assist output in her last four matches.
Morehead State (21-6, 13-0 OVC) started the match with a pair of kills, but TSU came right back to tie the score at two off of Eagle errors. From there, Morehead State went on a 6-1 run that was finally ended by a kill from Wells.
With the Tigers down 8-4, the Eagles racked up four straight points, prompting TSU head coach Kathy Rouhlac to use her first timeout of the match. The stoppage in play couldn't stop the flow of points from Morehead State, as the Eagles went on a 6-1 run. Butler and Ambroch tallied their first kills of the match to end the run, making the score 18-7. Ambroch added another kill two points later, and Wells had a pair of back-to-back kills to cut the lead to nine.
TSU's small 3-1 run couldn't ignite a big enough spark to overtake the Eagles, and Morehead State took the first set when an attack from Wells was blocked.
Ambroch had a strong frame, recording 6 kills, but the Tigers struggled to a .030 hitting percentage.
A Morehead State error to open the second set gave TSU its first lead of the match at 1-0. The Tigers kept it close in the early going of the second period and even re-took the lead at 6-5 with a kill from Lindsay Hornsby. The Tigers added to their lead off of a pair of Morehead State errors and a kill from Wells, giving TSU a three-point advantage. Moss recorded a service ace and the Eagles committed two more violations, and TSU was suddenly up by six at 14-8.
The sudden surge from the Tigers caused Morehead State to call time. The timeout didn't seem to help the Eagles much, as the team hit the ball four times to give TSU a seven-point cushion.
Just when Morehead State seemed to be getting back in the match by scoring three-straight points, Wells and Hornsby dashed the Eagles' hope for a comeback with a pair of kills. Eimilie Sandve Aase recorded back-to-back kills later in the period, and Ambroch ended the set with a kill of her own.
This time, the Tigers hit .282 in the frame and held Morhead State to just a .051 line.
Wells and Ambroch tallied three of the first eight points of the third period, and the score was tied at four apiece early in the period. Hornsby broke the tie with an emphatic kill, Morehead State hit an attack wide and Wells recoded a service ace, and the Tigers found themselves up by three at 7-4.
The sides played to a long rally later in the set that brought the crowd to its feet. TSU seemed to have won the point, but the referees later conversed and gave the point to Morehead State citing a violation on the Tigers. The reversal of fortune prompted an eruption from the TSU bench and boos from Big Blue supporters. Morehead State seized the moment and promptly took the lead at 9-8.
The Eagle advantage was short-lived, however, as Ambroch put the Tigers back in the driver seat with another kill. Morehead State then responded by going on a 5-1 run, forcing TSU to call time to regroup. The game-planning session worked, and TSU cut the lead to one with attacks from three different players. The sides traded blows for the next few scores, but Morehead was eventually able to inch ahead by three, 23-20. Roulhac called her second timeout, but Morehead scored the next two points to take the third set.
A block by Butler and Hornsby opened the fourth frame, but Morehead State held a 7-4 lead later in the period. Aase tallied a kill to cut the lead to two, but TSU could not mount a large run.
A service ace and a block by the Eagles made the score 14-8 in favor of Morehead State. Seeing the match slipping away, Rouhlac called her first timeout of the period. The Tigers responded with four straight points on the back of a pair of Morehead State errors. The TSU run was not enough, as Morehead State quickly went back up by four via a couple of kills.
Kills from Aase and Butler kept the Tigers in the match and TSU was only down two with the score 21-19. Morehead State then committed an error, putting TSU down by just one.
A long rally late in the set ended with the ball going into the stands on the Morehead State side. TSU then tied the set at 24 with a block by Aase and Butler
However, TSU simply ran out of time in the fourth and final frame as Morehead finished the match with a kill.
The Tigers will look to pull even this weekend with a win over Eastern Kentucky tomorrow at 2 p.m. The game will also be the Tigers' annual Senior Day honoring Hathorn and senior Calasia Williams.
Hear Moss' thoughts on tonight's match, below:
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