NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee State University volleyball team recently concluded a productive spring season.
The Tigers played in three tournaments this spring and finished matches on Saturday April 16 versus Cumberland and Austin Peay. The team also faced Middle Tennessee, Trevecca, Tennessee, North Alabama, Life University, UNC Asheville and East Tennessee during the off-season competition.
“The spring season puts our team in a better position when fall starts”, said head coach Kathy Bullock. “I like what I saw from Puamana Danielson who got extra reps this spring.”
Arijana Anderson, who was a preseason OVC All-Conference selection as a sophomore and member of the league’s All-Newcomer team as a freshman, participated in spring tournaments after missing conference play with an injury last season.
The Tigers look to build on a strong showing in 2015. Last season, the Tigers finished 10-6 in conference play before falling to Murray State in the OVC Tournament semifinal.
The squad will return 10 players from last year including All-Conference outside hitter, Chloe Watson and All-OVC Newcomer, Zahria Graham.
The program will have to replace libero, Madison Halterman who garnered Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors as well as middle hitter, Haley Hampton who finished the season strong and was also named to the OVC All-Tournament team.
The beginning of the 2016 campaign will be an early test for the Tigers as the team will face Kansas State, Michigan and Ole Miss to kick-off the season. TSU will also participate in a tournament hosted by Chattanooga to conclude non-conference action on September 16 before beginning league play versus reigning OVC champion Belmont (9/20).
The coaching staff signed five players to help improve a team that finished third in the conference standings. Trying to replace Halterman will be a tough task. However, three of the signees for the upcoming season will battle for the libero position including junior college All-American Cherlie Adorno-DeJesus.
The staff focused on adding height and depth at position needs during recruiting. Coach Bullock believes this team has what it takes to be successful.
“We have to have team chemistry with the new and returning players early. That will give us the best chance to win. This is the most talented team we have had since 2007.”
The last time TSU won the OVC volleyball tournament championship was in 2007.