Tigers Drop Heartbreaker to Panthers
Saturday, October 11, 2008

Charleston, Ill. --- The Tennessee State University volleyball squad dropped a 3-2 (34-32, 16-25, 25-18, 16-25, 16-18) decision to Eastern Illinois in a thriller on Saturday afternoon.


The loss dropped TSU to 4-11 overall and 3-5 in the OVC while the Panthers moved to 4-14 overall and 1-7 in the league.


Both squads battled throughout the afternoon. Facing set point and trailing 24-18 in the first set, the Tigers clawed from behind to fire off six unanswered points and even the set at 24-all. Both teams battled back and forth over the next several points, with neither team able to take advantage until TSU pulled out the dramatic 34-32 win.  The set featured 10 ties and 15 lead changes.


With set two knotted 5-5, EIU used a 13-5 run to capture an 18-10 lead and eventually take the set 25-16 to even the series, 1-1. 


Following the break, TSU took the lead early and eventually pulled away for the 25-18 win. The Tigers recorded a match-high .256 hitting percentage in the third set.


In set four the Panthers grabbed and early lead and swelled the advantage to 21-9 following a TSU attack error.  Tennessee State scored seven out of the next 11 points but the Panthers were able to keep the Tigers at bay.


In the fifth and deciding set, TSU carried the momentum early capturing a 9-4 lead but EIU rallied to pull even at 13-13.  After a Tiger timeout, both squads traded points until the Panthers held the advantage at 17-16.  Behind a TSU attack error, EIU was able to escape with the hard-fought match.


Three Tigers turned in double-digit kills as Christian Lowe led with 17 and Shawna Ruiz and Candace Saleaumua contributed 12 and 10, respectively.  Defensively, TSU was led by Terraka Walker's 23 digs and six blocks by both Lowe and Shaquita Williams Both Ruiz and Saleaumua tallied 16 digs apiece.  


The Tigers will next host the Lady Bisons of Lipscomb University in non-conference action on Tuesday, Oct.14 in Kean Hall.