NASHVILLE --- The Tigers will trade in their practice uniforms for game uniforms on Friday Aug. 26 at 10 a.m. when they take on the Texas Southern Tigers in the ISTAP Collegiate Cup 1. Throughout the weekend the volleyball team will compete versus four other HBCU teams.
TSU will follow the morning game with an evening showdown against Jackson State at 4:30 p.m. Saturday mornings match will begin at 10 a. m. against the Bulldogs of Alabama A&M. Tennessee State volleyball will finish the weekend at 7 p.m. against Alabama State.
The Tigers are looking to build off a season in which they finished 16-14 overall and 10-4 in conference play. The Tigers return six players from last year’s squad including 2015 All-OVC First Team player Chloe Watson and 2016 Pre-season All-OVC selection Samantha Beltran. Head Coach Kathy Bullock added six newcomers that will make up the 2016 team.
Bullock and staff said they needed more height in the middle of the floor and they got just what they asked for in junior college transfer Katora Roberts who stands tall at 6 feet 2 inches. Roberts joins freshmen Payten Clark at 6 feet 1 in and Julia Pierson who stands at 6 feet even. When you combine the height with the hitting ability of players like Watson, Taylor Patterson, Arijana Anderson and Alexis Johnson you have one dynamic team.
Senior Puamana Danielson and junior Samantha Beltran will be dishing out the assist as they will both be playing setter. Defensively the Tigers will look to Cherlie Adorno-Dejesus, Kylie Hayes and Curstyn Wilson to replace 2015 OVC Defensive Player of the Year Madison Halterman.
Scouting Texas Southern…
Texas Southern won the Western Division of the Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship and finished the season with an overall record of 16-19. Headlining the Tigers' squad is middle blocker/hitter Kali Fluke the 2016 SWAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Fluke led the SWAC with a .312 hitting percentage and was second in the league with 333 kills and 133 blocks.
Scouting Jackson State…
Jackson State comes into the 2016 season as the defending SWAC champions. In 2015 they won their conference tournament earning a berth in the NCAA Volleyball Tournament. The 2015 SWAC Coach of the Year Rose Washington will enter her 15th season at the helm. After losing three starters the Tigers will rely on second-team All-SWAC libero Tyler Moorer and pre-season first-team middle hitter/blocker Kianna Shelton who finished last season with 85 kills and 75 blocks.
Scouting Alabama A&M…
The Bulldogs of Alabama A&M finished the 2015 season with an overall record of 13-25. Rose Powell enters her third season as the head coach and will bring back the 2015 SWAC Player of the Year Ashundria McNeal. McNeal finished last season with 611 kills and 701 total points. The Bulldogs are hoping to end a five year title drought in the SWAC.
Scouting Alabama State…
The Lady Hornets fell shy of winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament losing to Jackson State in the championship match. They finished the season 21-15 overall and a 7-2 conference record. Kori Kutsch was the 2015 Newcomer of the Year and returns at setter for Alabama State. Libero Jamie Coleman was picked as the conference preseason Player of the Year.