NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Having won two-straight matches, the Tennessee State University volleyball team takes to the road this weekend for a pair of Ohio Valley Conference matches against Jacksonville State University and Tennessee Tech University.
The Tigers (8-11, 2-2 OVC) will start with the Gamecocks (11-8, 4-0 OVC) on Friday at 7:00 p.m. and then end with the Golden Eagles (7-13, 2-2 OVC) on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. JSU currently holds an advantage in the all-time series as they have an 18-8 record against TSU while Tennessee Tech is 36-12 all-time against the Blue and White.
TSU is being driven by an attack that comes from four separate players. Seniors Naomi Wells and Taylor Swayzer are both tied for the team-lead in kills with 224 and Swayzer leads the team in attack percentage with a .274 clip. Joining them is sophomore Arijana Anderson who is five put-downs away from being the third 200-kill Tiger. Junior Haley Hampton adds her 162 kills to the team and sports a .239 attack percentage.
Those four players make up 85% of the team’s offense.
Jacksonville State will pit their top player, Nicole Merget, against Tigers this Friday. Merget leads the team in total kills, kils per set, attack percentage, and blocks. She has 214 total kills (2.89 k/s), hits to a .280 clip, and has 19 solo blocks with 43 block assists. She has 29 kills and eight blocks over her last three matches.
As a team, the Gamecocks come into this weekend red hot. They are currently on a five-match win streak and have won eight of their last 10. Four of those wins have come against conference opposition as JSU has beaten UT Martin, Tennessee Tech, Eastern Illinois, and SIU-Edwardsville. Three of those four have come at home.
Last season the Gamecocks split with TSU, winning in Jacksonville 3-0 but losing in Nashville 0-3.
Tennessee Tech enters the weekend in a slightly different state of mind than JSU. Having lost two-straight OVC matches, they are looking to turn things back to the way they started in conference play. The first two OVC matches of the season for the Golden Eagles were both wins at home. TU took down Eastern Illinois and SIUE in Cookeville to get off to a roaring start.
TTU is led on offense by Cody Dodd who averages just shy of three and a half kills per set (3.44). Pacing the Golden Eagle defense will be Courtney Smith, who won the OVC Defensive Player of the Week award for the week of Sept. 29. Smith had 75 digs in that week’s three matches and has 350 digs overall (4.93 d/set).
The Tigers won both meetings with TTU last season and in straight sets.
The start time for Friday’s match at Jacksonville State will be 7:00 p.m. while the TTU match on Saturday will be at 4:00 p.m. Both matches will be broadcasted on the OVC Digital Network.
Follow TSU volleyball on Twitter @tnstateVB.