Nashville --- In a hard-fought match, filled long rallies, the Tennessee State University volleyball team used a gallant fifth set comeback to defeat Southeast Missouri, 3-2, Saturday afternoon in Kean Hall.
With the match tied, 2-2, SEMO seemed to have the contest in hand as TSU fell behind, 11-7, in the fifth and deciding set. A determined Tiger squad, however, battled from behind and was able to pull off the 16-14 win.
Tennessee State won its second straight and improved to 5-9 (3-3 OVC) while Southeast Missouri fell to 4-10 (1-4 OVC).
Santia Sanders led TSU with 15 kills and tallied 13 digs for her second consecutive double-double. For the third straight match, Kamille King posted a double-double with 13 kills and 23 digs while Shaquita Williams added 13 kills.
Claire Keaton led the SEMO offense with 21 kills. Emily Hughes had 12 kills and Andrea Baylin (11 kills, 19 digs) registered a double-double for the Redhawks. Kelly Benacka totaled a match-high 43 digs while Meagan Webb (19) and Julie Shives (13) also posted double-digit digs.
Early in the first set, TSU used a timeout after falling behind, 12-8, but clawed back to take a 14-13 lead on a SEMO attack error. After trading points for the next several rallies, the Tigers put together a run that helped capture the 25-21 win.
In the second set, TSU managed to build a 20-17 lead before SEMO posted six straight points to capture a 23-20 lead. TSU called a timeout in an attempt to stop the Redhawk run but SEMO went on to claim the set, 25-21 and even the match, 1-1.
Much like the first two, the third set was a battle. With TSU holding on to a slight, 12-11, lead, SEMO fired off five unanswered points to go ahead, 16-12. TSU answered with a spurt of its own and grabbed a 20-18. After SEMO evened the score, the set went back-and-forth and eventually went into extra points. After fighting tooth-and-nail for every single point, TSU was finally able to squeeze out the, 32-30, win.
With TSU leading the match, 2-1, the momentum seemed to shift towards SEMO mid-way through the fourth set. The score was tied, 14-14, when the Redhawks used a 6-1 run to open up a 19-15 lead. SEMO maintained the lead the rest of the way and won the set, 25-18.
In the fifth set, the Redhawks led 8-6 at the halfway mark and increased the advantage to 11-7 on a Tiger attack error. TSU burned a timeout and scored the next two points to close within two, 11-9. SEMO increased its advantage to 13-9 and TSU used another timeout. Not to be denied, a service ace by Vicmari sparked a rally that would tie the game 14-14, and force a SEMO timeout. With the match on the line, Shaquita Williams and Kamille King stepped up with two huge kills to seal the win for TSU.
TSU tallied 61 kills and hit .121 in the match while SEMO finished with 64 kills and a .135 hitting percentage.
The Tigers return to action on Tuesday, Oct.5 when they travel to Kentucky to face Morehead. Match-time is slated for 6 p.m. at Wetherby Gym.