CINCINNATI, Ohio – The Tennessee State University volleyball team split their two matches on Saturday at the UC Invitational at Fifth Third Arena.
The Tigers (5-9) beat Charleston Southern (5-9) in straight sets before falling to Cincinnati 1-3 to finish off the tournament 1-2. Senior Taylor Swayzer had 33 kills to lead TSU while also hitting the match-clinching kill against the Buccaneersl. Senior Naomi Wells had a double-double against UC as she put down 12 attacks and dug up 13 attempts from the Bearcats.
“I feel like now that we are done with our non-conference tournaments we are ready for conference play,” head coach Kathy Roulhac said. “When you play these strong teams, it teaches you about yourself. We know exactly where we are strong and where we are weak. We’ll iron out the weaknesses and be ready for Friday.”
Junior Madison Halterman and senior Jaime Cooper stepped up on defense, notching 23 and 22 digs, respectively, throughout the two matches. Halterman came in a pinch as senior Ileanushka Maldonado went down with an injury in the first game. She is expected to be alright, though, for the next match.
The Tigers played a crazy second set against Cincinnati. The Bearcats took it, but after a long, drawn-out ordeal, 34-32. The Tigers, at one point during the set, trailed by six, but Cooper led them on the comeback with some pinpoint serves.
Sophomore Arijana Anderson showed just how far she has come this season as she totaled 27 kills for the day while only having six errors.
“I’ve seen the development in her. She has worked hard to get here. She was already a great player, but now she is starting to take that next step. When you add her in. the way she is playing, with the other three attackers, we are going to be good.”
TSU will return home to begin conference play next weekend. On Friday, the defending OVC Champion, Morehead State Eagles, travel to Kean Hall for a 6:00 p.m. match. Then for Homecoming, the Tigers host the Colonels of Eastern Kentucky. Match time is set for 2:00 p.m. Come out and support the Blue and White as they look to start off OVC play with a bang.
Follow the volleyball team on Twitter @tnstateVB.