NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The emergence of outside hitters to compliment All-OVC hitter Naomi Wells have been pivotal in the development of head coach Kathy Roulhac’s Tigers.
Friday, the developing Tennessee State (4-10, 1-3) talent flexed their muscle in a road loss to Eastern Illinois (9-9, 2-2), 3-1.
Junior outside hitter Taylor Swayzer recorded 17 kills while hitting .517 from the floor with just two errors on the evening. Arjiana Anderson continued her stellar freshman campaign posting a new career high in kills with 15. While freshman Jamie Cooper picked up a match high three service aces.
Erika Moss continued to be the catalyst in the Tigers attack dishing out 44 assists in Charleston, Ill. to pace the TSU attack.
On the defensive end of the court Ileanushka Moldonado (16) and Naomi Wells (10) recorded double-digit assists. Four Tigers picked up multiple blocks with Sherryce Butler leading the way logging four rejections in the contest.
The opening frame opened in a back-and-forth fashion with neither Tennessee State nor Eastern Illinois able to take more than a two point lead. The Panthers held the slight lead, 12-11, Eastern Illinois broke out going on a 10-2 run to take control of the set and taking a 21-13 lead. The Tigers would later go on a 4-2 run to trim the lead down to six, 23-17, but the Panthers would close out the stanza with two straight points to win the set 25-17.
In the second set Tennessee State raced out to a 3-0 lead out of the gate featuring a Jamie Cooper Ace and an Arijana Anderson kill. EIU cut the lead down to 7-5 and then went on a 10-2 run taking a 15-9 lead. TSU rallied late recording three straight points capped off by a kill by Arijana Anderson that would shrink the lead to 24-18. The Panthers took the next point closing out the set 25-18 and taking a 2-0 set lead into the break.
TSU came out of the locker room grabbing a, 3-1, lead after a Katie Burnett service ace. The two teams would trade points for most of the set with the lead never growing larger than three points. The Tigers would claw their way through the set putting themselves in a position to grab the late lead, 22-21.
Eastern Illinois would call a timeout to try and halt the Tennessee State momentum. EIU’s move didn’t work as TSU came out of the stoppage with continued momentum, a Sherryce Butler and Erika Moss block made the score 23-21. The Panthers would counter with a point of their own bringing the Tennessee State lead back to just one. An EIU attack error brought the Tigers within one point of taking the set. The Panthers used a Reynae Hutchinson kill to once again cut the TSU lead to one, 24-23. Taylor Swayzer put an end to the rally with a dynamic kill to send the OVC match to a fourth set, with the Tigers winning the third set, 25-23, to pull within 2-1 in sets.
The teams would pick-up where they left off in the fourth set match each other’s points in a tight start. Eastern Illinois would inch ahead late in the set connecting on three straight points to take the, 19-14, lead. TSU countered with a 3-0 stretch of their own pulling within two, 19-17, on an Arijana Anderson kill followed by two Panthers errors. Both OVC schools would closely battle out the closing points in the set a Swayzer kill cut the Panthers lead down to 23-21. The Panthers closed the set out scoring on back-to-back points claiming the match, 3-1.
The Tigers return to action next Friday when they travel to Cookeville for an OVC tilt with the Golden Eagles of Tennessee Tech.
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