NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State University volleyball team will travel to Louisville, Ky. for the Active Ankle Challenge this Friday and Saturday.
The Tigers (0-3) will play three games in two days against the host Cardinals (1-1), Appalachian State (3-0), and University of Cincinnati (2-1). TSU will play Louisville on Friday at 9:00 a.m. to kick off the tournament. The Mountaineers are next on the docket with game time set for 4:30 p.m. The Tigers finish up the weekend with the Bearcats at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.
TSU will make the trip to The Ville for the first time since their NCAA Tournament appearance in 2007 when they fell to Hawaii in the first round 0-3.
Coming off of a tough slate of games at the Arkansas Invitational, the Tigers received some spirited performances. Senior Naomi Wells led the team with 28 total kills and 36 total digs, including two-straight double-doubles against Arkansas (10 kills, 10 digs) and Michigan (10 kills, 12 digs). She was voted to the All-Tournament team as a result.
Freshman Samantha Beltran stepped up as the team’s setter and racked up improving assist totals in each of the three games (14, 27, and 29). The Mississauga, Ontario, native looks to be a leader for the Tigers in this her first year of collegiate play.
Sophomore Arijana Anderson and senior Taylor Swayzer stepped up to add depth to TSU’s attack behind Wells. Anderson tallied 23 kills and three blocks while Swayzer notched 17 and added a block. Junior Haley Hampton also stepped up with 16 kills and three blocks.
TSU will be tested, again, as their strong preseason schedule continues. Louisville is fresh off an upset of No. 12 Minnesota, in Minneapolis. That, on top of a 2013 that saw the Cardinals breeze through the American Athletic Conference without a loss, has Louisville’s confidence riding high.
Attention will quickly turn to Appalachian state as the Tigers square off with the Mountaineers a mere hours after finishing with Louisville. An undefeated 3-0 to start 2014, Appalachian State is loaded with experience with four seniors and five juniors on the team. The Mountaineers dispatched with TSU rival, Tennessee Tech, in straight sets, tallying 44 kills in the victory.
The Tigers finish the weekend tournament with the Bearcats of Cincinnati. Despite only winning three games last season, UC is 2-1 to start 2014. Beating Duquesne and UC Irvine, the Bearcats are young and tall with seven players standing at 6’ 1” or higher. They racked up 59 kills in their season opener against Duquesne; 113 kills, total, for the weekend.
Audio broadcasts will be available for all three games through TSUTigers.com. Each broadcast will begin a few minutes before each game.
Follow Tigers volleyball on twitter @tnstateVB for all your news and updates on the team.