Morehead, Ky. - Tennessee State advanced to the second round of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament with a win over fourth seeded Austin Peay. The Tigers earned a 3-1 (25-15, 18-25, 27-25, 25-17) victory over the Governors in Wetherby Gym on Thursday afternoon. The win is the first for the Tigers in the OVC Championships since winning the tournament in 2007.
Naomi Wells led the Tigers with a double-double as she recorded a game-high 16 kills (.324) and picked up 13 digs. Rachel Ambroch added offensive support with 13 kills (.250).
Setter Erika Moss added five kills to go along with her 41 assists. Libero Britani Hathorn registered four assists and a game-high 15 digs.
The two teams traded points to start the match and were tied at 7-7 when the Tigers used consecutive kills by Moss, Lindsay Hornsby and Wells to take a 10-7 lead. Austin Peay would respond with two quick points before TSU exploded with six straight points behind the serving of Wells.
Hornsby added two kills during the stretch before Wells picked up her only ace of the night. Emilie Aase closed out the run by taking advantage of an over pass by the Governors and delivering a booming kill for a 16-9 lead.
To close out the set, Ambroch made a great save on an APSU tip allowing Hathorn the opportunity to get the ball up enough for Ambroch to put the ball down for the 25-15. TSU hit .424 during the first set with 16 kills and 2 errors on 33 attempts. Austin Peay was held to a .152 percentage (11-6-33).
The rolls reversed in the second set as APSU hit .481 (15-2-27), while the Tigers hit .212 (13-6-33). The two teams would stay close early with Aase picking up a kill to bring the Tigers to within one at 8-7. But the Governors went on an 8-2 run to give them a comfortable 16-9 lead. TSU would never get any closer than a four point deficit as they dropped the second set 25-18.
Both teams came out of the break fired up, but neither team could get away from the other. Late in the set, the Governors used a Lauren Henderson kill to take a 21-19 lead. But the Tigers fought back with three straight points as Hornsby recorded a kill and teamed with Aase for a block.
APSU would come back to tie the set at 24-24 before Moss and Ambroch each recorded kills to give the Tigers a 27-25 win. TSU hit .222 (16-6-45) to Austin Peay's .191 (14-5-47).
The fourth set opened with the Tigers getting a little momentum as they used a Wells kill to take a 10-7 lead. APSU would come back to tie the game at 13-13 only to see the Tigers go on a 12-6 run to end the match. Ambroch and Butler led the charge as they teamed up for two blocks. Ambroch added two kills and an ace, while Butler recorded a kill along with Wells.
TSU will play their semifinal match at 7:00 p.m. ET on Friday evening against host and top seeded Morehead State who defeated UT Martin 3-0.
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