Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee State volleyball team overcame a two-set defecit to defeat Memphis 3-2 (11-25, 20-25, 25-20, 25-20, 15-9) in Kean Hall.
Sophomore outside hitter Naomi Wells led TSU with 15 kills, but fellow sophomores Sherryce Butler and Rachel Ambroch each had strong matches as well with 12 and 11 kills, respectively.
Junior setter Erika Moss was one assist shy of 40, but she also chipped in with nine digs.
Senior libero Britani Hathorn led the team in digs with 16, but Wells also had double-digits with 12.
TSU started the match on a 4-3 run that was highlighted by three kills from Wells. Memphis quickly recovered and eventually led 8-5 when an attack from freshman Lindsay Hornsby went a few inches wide. Tennessee State called an early timeout to recover, but Memphis added to its lead with four TSU errors and two emphatic kills. Down 15-5, a service error by Memphis finally got TSU its sixth point of the match. Butler had a block later in the set, but TSU couldn't string together enough points to mount a comeback. Memphis ended the set on a drop-shot that fell in between TSU defenders.
TSU hit just -.062 in the set and committed eight errors compared to just six kills. Meanwhile, Memphis hit .391 and had just two errors.
Memphis scored the first three points of the second frame before a block from Ambroch gave TSU its first point. Ambroch later recorded a service ace to make the score 6-4 in favor of Memphis, but two errors from freshman Emilie Sandve Aase halted any chances TSU had for a long run. Another TSU error later in the set put the team down six, but again Ambroch scored a point to keep Big Blue in the match. TSU finally found success with a 4-0 run that was highlighted by a pair of blocks from Hornsby. The run still put TSU behind by two and Memphis ended the TSU threat with a pair of kills. A kill from Wells later in the frame made the score 17-14 in favor of Memphis, and TSU proceeded to go on a 4-2 run to pull within one. From there, Memphis pulled away with a 6-2 run that ended the second set.
TSU hit the ball a little bit better in the second period, but the team still ended with 11 errors and only 11 kills. Memphis only hit .259 but benefitted from the squad's four set blocks.
The sides played to a 4-4 tie to start the third frame, but a pair of errors from Memphis put TSU in the lead during the early going. TSU later squandered its lead later in the set with three straight miss-hits. Memphis later went on a small 3-0 run to take a three-point lead, prompting TSU to call its first timeout of the set. Memphis added to its lead and soon found itself up 18-12. A service error gave TSU the serve and back-to-back points from Hornsby put TSU down by just three. Two service aces from Wells tied the set at 18 apiece and Memphis called its first timeout of the match. A rare kill from Moss gave the Tigers the lead and a short drop-shot from Ambroch extended TSU's lead. Freshman Jordan Piper and Ambroch tallied consecutive kills later in the frame and an attack error from Memphis gave TSU its first set victory. Tennessee State ended the set on a 13-2 run.
Hornsby had four kills in the set and TSU hit .188 while holding Memphis to a .121 hitting percentage.
Kills from Ambroch and Butler gave TSU a quick 2-0 lead and Ambroch had another strong attack later in the set to put the Tigers up 4-3. Hathorn tallied a kill when TSU was just trying to get the ball over the net, and Big Blue found itself up 11-6 a few points after. The sudden change in momentum caused Memphis to call timeout, but Ambroch slammed home a kill following the stoppage to put TSU up by six. Kills from Butler and Wells made the score 15-7, but a 9-3 run from Memphis forced TSU to burn a timeout. The stoppage worked in TSU's favor, as the team went on a 4-1 run that was highlighted by a strong kill from Butler. The teams traded points for the rest of the set, which suited TSU just fine as Moss ended the set with a service ace.
TSU had its largest output of kills in the set with 15 and its least number of errors with six.
In the fifth and final set, Memphis jumped out to a 3-0 lead before Butler got TSU on the board with a kill. Wells and Ambroch had kills of their own later in the set, but TSU still trailed 4-6. Wells added another kill to tie the match and Ambroch recorded a service ace to give TSU its first lead in the set. The teams switched sides after a block from Hornsby made the score 8-6. Wells extended TSU's lead with a kill and Memphis' second net violation of the set made the score 11-7. A 3-1 run gave TSU a big advantage and Moss ended the match with a kill.
The TSU Tigers hit the road this weekend for a match against Jacksonville State on Oct. 19 and one at Tennessee Tech on Oct. 20
Hear Erika Moss' thoughts on the match below: