NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee State’s offense reaches its grove, to cruise to a straight sets victory over OVC rival Tennessee Tech.
Junior Naomi Wells paved the way for Tennessee State (8-12, 4-5), finishing with 11 kills and seven digs. The Huntsville, Ala. native also posted a .375 hitting percentage with just two errors. Freshman Arijana Anderson finished just behind Wells, with nine kills.
On the block, the team recorded 10 total blocks including five in the third and final set. Junior Sherryce Butler continued her strong play on the front line finishing with five blocks, including one unassisted block. Wells had four blocks of her own; followed by three blocks from junior Taylor Swayzer.
In the first stanza, with TSU holding a slim 8-7 advantage, the Tigers exploded for a 4-0 spurt to grab a firm grip on the lead, 12-7. The run forced Tennessee Tech (5-14, 1-8) to use a timeout to slow the Tennessee State attack.
The Tigers continued their offensive ways after the break, ripping off six of the next 10 points to extend the TSU advantage out to 18-11. The run ended with back-back kills from Swayzer. Offensively the Tigers continued to roll closing out the set 25-17, to take a 1-0 lead.
Swayzer finished the opening set with four kills, while hitting .600 from the floor. Butler added two kills and hit 1.000 on the attack. As a team the Tigers hit .312 from the floor and posted 15 kills as opposed to just five errors.
Tennessee State picked up where they left off in the second set, racing out to an early 5-1 lead after an Ileanushka Maldonado ace. The Golden Eagles rallied back closing within two points at 6-4. The rally didn’t last long, as TSU pushed the advantage back out to six, 12-6.
Tennessee Tech closed back within three, 16-13, after a 4-1 run. A solo block by Butler ended the Golden Eagles run, for the moment. Tennessee tech continued to battle and stick around, cutting the lead to a single point twice in the final stretch. When the lead was cut to just one, 21-20, TSU used a 4-0 run to close out Tech, 25-20, with a kill capping off the set. The set win gave TSU a 2-0 advantage at the break.
Out of the locker room the Golden Eagles connected on the first point, and the Tigers answered back with a 3-0 run to take the lead. TSU expanded its lead out to 11-6 off of two consecutive Golden Eagles errors. The visiting team then went on a 5-0 run to knot the score at 11 all.
Both sides would trade points, reaching the seventh tie in the set at 15-15. At that point the Tigers began to flex their quick strike offense reeling off five straight points to grab a five point lead, 20-15. The run saw Butler collect two blocks and one kill.
The Tigers cruised from there, winning the set 25-18. Wells picked up four kills in the set while committing one error. Butler recorded three key blocks in the final set to preserve the victory.
Tennessee State closes out the four match homestand on Friday, playing host to Jacksonville State in Kean Hall, the match is set to begin at 7 p.m.
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