WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Christian Lowe would lead the Tennessee State University Tigers offensively accumulating 26 kills, Candace Saleaumua totaled 29 digs and newcomer Yamari Padilla-Collazo tallied 35 assists in the Tigers’ matches at the Purdue Mortar Board Premier in Holloway Gymnasium hosted by Purdue University.
TSU matched up with two CBS College Sports Network/American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Top 25 teams while all tournament teams qualified for the 2007 NCAA Division I National Tournament.
“The first five teams on our schedule made it to the NCAA tournament last year. After qualifying for the tournament last year we knew in order to progress we had to face teams of this caliber early,” said head coach Kathy Roulhac. “We have a lot of newcomers who are very talented, but have not matched up with Division I teams. We were just a few errors away from taking a couple of the sets.”
The Tigers opened the tournament facing (14) Kansas State University (KSU) Wildcats. Two out of the three sets featured a see-saw battle between the two teams. The Tigers matched up well with KSU, keeping within a point of the Wildcats. Errors in the latter part of the sets would make the difference.
The Tigers would lose their season opener in three sets, 14 25, 18 25, and 16 - 25.
Lowe finished the opening match with ten of the team’s 28 kills. Saleaumua raked in 16 assists with nine digs and Padilla-Collazo would compliment with eight digs and six assists. Freshman Shaquita Williams produced an errorless game with four kills producing a .444 hitting percentage.
Day two of the tournament, TSU faced the tournament's host, (25) the Boilermakers of Purdue University. The Tigers dropped the first set, 14 25. In the second set, TSU climbed from five down to tie at 25. Two Purdue kills finished the come from behind effort, concluding the set 25 27. In the next set, the Tigers led midway however, Purdue would take the match 20 25.
The team garnered 30 kills and four blocks after the second match of the tournament. Lowe manufactured 11 kills, Saleaumua totaled 10 digs and Padilla-Collazo tallied 21 assists with four digs.
In their third match to a tough Duke team, the Tigers fell behind early and the Blue Devils would take three sets, 15 25, 14 25, and 15 25.
The Tigers will face the University of Kentucky on September 10th in Lexington, Ky.