Edwardsville, Ill. - The Tennessee State volleyball team (17-13, 10-6 OVC) ended the regular season strong by defeating SIUE in four sets (25-27, 25-22, 25-20, 25-13).
Sherryce Butler and Rachel Ambroch each had 16 kills in the match to lead all attackers. Butler's total tied her career high that she set Oct. 12 at UT Martin.
TSU recorded 95 digs as a team, 19 higher than the squad's previous season-high. Naomi Wells and Britani Hathorn led the team with 28 and 25 digs, respectively. Well's 28 digs broke her previous season high by nine.
Setter Erika Moss tallied 52 assists in the match- her second 50-plus assist match in her last three tries.
SIUE (9-18, 5-11 OVC) jumped out to an early 3-1 lead when an attack from freshman Emilie Sandve Aase went long, but the Tigers came roaring back with a 4-0 run. Butler and Moss led the charge with a kill apiece, and freshman Jaime Cooper recorded her only service ace of the match.
SIUE came right back to tie the frame at six with a slam from Leslie Lindsey, but a 7-3 TSU run from there gave the Tigers a big lead at 13-9.
Tennessee State maintained its advantage for the better part of the set, but SIUE would eventually tie the score at 23 with an attack by Kelsey Augustine. Sensing the momentum shifting away from her side, TSU coach Kathy Rouhlac called time to talk things over.
The message was not received as SIUE ended the set on a 4-2 run to take the opening period.
The start of the second set was just as close as the ending of the first, as a kill from Butler tied the score at six a side.
Back-to-back points from Ambroch later in the frame put TSU up 12-8, prompting a timeout from the home team. Ambroch's second point of the run was one of Ambroch's four service aces in the match.
Freshman Linday Hornsby had a slam following the timeout, but SIUE rebounded to make the score 13-13.
The score was still tied at 22 each when Ambroch had a pair of points and Hornsby recorded another kill to tie the match at one set apiece.
With the score tied at five early in the third frame, the Tigers went on a 5-0 run highlighted by three kills from Butler.
The run proved to be too much for the Cougars, as they could never get within one of the lead and TSU hung on for a five-point set victory.
With two straight set wins, TSU carried over its strong play in the third set, starting on an 8-2 run. Butler and Aase led the charge with two kills each.
The Tigers extended their advantage to eight when SIUE committed two errors, causing SIUE to use its second timeout of the set.
The stoppage did nothing to stop the TSU run, as the Tigers eventually went up 20-10 when Hornsby connected on an attempt.
Hornsby finished the match third on the team in kills with 14.
Freshman Shawneis Jones recorded her first career kill to make the score 24-12, and Wells ended the match two-points later with a kill assisted by Moss.
TSU hit .270 during the final set and held SIUE to a -.105 line.
By virtue of its win, TSU earned the five-seed in the OVC Conference Tournament. This sets up a match against Austin Peay on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 4:30 p.m.
The match will be held in Morehead, Ky.
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