Mobile, Ala. – The Tigers charged back in their final game of the Jaguar Invitational in Mobile, Ala. to earn their first win of the season. After dropping the first game to Southern Utah, Tennessee State won the next three to claim a 3-1 decision.
TSU (1-2) defeated SUU (0-3) by the scores of 24-26, 25-17, 25-23, 25-20.
Sherryce Butler and Naomi Wells led the way with 17 kills each, but it was Butler who sparked the Tigers with her .464 hitting percentage. The junior committed just four errors in 28 attempts. Erika Moss recorded 48 assists and added eight kills against one error in 14 attempts.
In game one, Taylor Swayzer tried to single handedly keep the Tigers close as she recorded five of her ten kills during the first half of the set. Her fifth kill brought TSU to within two points at 13-15. The Thunderbirds went on a four point run to put space between the two teams at 20-14, but the tigers would fight back to catch SUU at 24-24. Southern Utah would hold on and escape with a 26-24 win and take a 1-0 lead.
SUU used a .306 hitting percentage (12k-1e-36a) to pace the win. The Tigers committed ten errors opposed to 18 kills in 51 attempts for a .157 percentage.
The Tigers were trailing 14-12 in game two when they exploded with nine kills, two aces and a block to close out SUU with a 13-3 run. Wells started the winning stretch with a kill and an ace that fueled two kills each for Swayzer, Butler and Jordon Piper. Katie Burnett delivered her fourth ace of the weekend as Wells and Moss closed out the 25-17 win with kills.
With the score tied 11-11 in game three, the Tigers took charge of the game jumping out to a 22-18 lead. The Thunderbirds rattled off four straight points to tie the game back up at 22-22. Piper delivered her third kill of the match to regain the lead, while Wells and Swayzer scored kills to secure the 25-23 win.
In the fourth game, TSU enjoyed an 11-4 lead before SUU stormed back to within one point at 14-13. The Big Blue continued their balanced attack as four separate players earned kills and Moss teamed up with Shauntia Carr on a block to extend the lead to 21-15. The Thunderbirds could only get as close as three points at 22-19 before Butler would end the match with her 17th kill.
Wells was named to the all-tournament team after posting 44 kills averaging 4.00 kills per game. Wells finished the weekend with 32 digs and two aces.
The Tigers are off until they travel to Bloomington, Ind. for the University of Indiana Tournament on Sept. 13-14.
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