NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After starting OVC play 0-2 over the weekend the Tigers rallied with a vengeance Tuesday to win a five set match over pre-season OVC favorite Belmont.
The fifth and decisive set started with Belmont (8-11, 1-2 OVC) taking the early, 5-2, lead. Tennessee State (4-9, 1-2 OVC) clawed back to tie the set at eight with a Sherryce Butler kill. The Bruins used a 4-0 run to regain the lead, 12-8, and Head Coach Kathy Roulhac called a timeout to rally the Tigers. The move worked with TSU using a 3-0 run to pull within one point, 12-11.
With Belmont leading, 13-11, the Tigers used a furious run to take control of the match. Back –to-back Butler kills knotted the score at 13. A Belmont hitting error gave the Tigers a chance to win the set with All-OVC setter Erika Moss serving. The senior responded with an ace that split the Belmont defenders, giving Tennessee State the 15-13 set win to take the match, 3-2.
Sherryce Butler tallied a career-high 23 kills on the evening while posting a .370 hitting percentage to lead the Tigers. The junior also paced the team in blocks picking up two solo and six total.
Moss recorded a season-high in assists, picking up 54 helpers on the night.
The Tigers were paced defensively by junior Ileanushka Maldanado who led the team in digs with 22. Taylor Patterson (12), Katie Burnett (11) and Naomi Wells (10) also posted double digit kills in the win. Wells also added 10 kills to post her fifth double-double of the season.
As a team Tennessee State set season high marks in kills, total attacks and assists.
The Tigers came out of the gate firing to begin the match taking the early, 11-7, lead. The Briuns would trim the lead down to 14-11, but the Tigers would extend their lead again with the help of a 3-0 run, making the score 18-13. The run was capped off by an monstrous block from Butler and Taylor Swayzer.
Tennessee State and Belmont would trade points with the Tigers closing out the set with a Butler kill winning the opening stanza, 25-22. Butler led the Tigers in the set racking up five kills and posting a .571 hitting percentage.
TSU would carry its momentum into the second set opening with a, 4-1, lead with the help of a 4-0 run after Belmont took the first point. With TSU leading, 10-7, the Tigers used a 6-1 run to extend their lead out to 17-9 capped off by a Swayzer kill. The run was highlighted by two Arijana Anderson kills with Swayzer adding a kill and a block during the span. Tennessee State would cruise to the 25-17 set win.
The set win allowed the Tigers to take the 2-0 set lead into the locker room.
After the break Belmont answered the Tigers momentum with each team trading slim leads. Neither team would lead by more than two points until a 4-0 run gave the Bruins a, 13-10, lead. TSU would answer with a 5-0 run to regain the lead at 15-13.
Both teams would again trade the leads with neither team leading by more than two points until the Bruins strung together a 5-0 run to close out the set ,25-20, cutting the TSU set lead to 2-1.
TSU took the early 6-1 set lead to begin the fourth set. Belmont would claw its way back into the set using a 9-4 run to even the set at 10. The Bruins would continue the run taking the 17-14 lead. Tennessee State answered back, tying the set at 18 on a Belmont error. The Bruins would close out the period, 25-22, to win the fourth set to tie the match 2-2.
Tennessee State begins a five match road swing this weekend when the team heads to Eastern Illinois this Friday with a match against the Panthers. The match will be the first OVC road contest for the Tigers with first serve slated for 7 p.m.