NASHVILLE --- Players and fans alike stormed the gym floor in Kean Hall on Saturday afternoon, celebrating the Tennessee State volleyball team's (4-21, 1-9 OVC) first Ohio Valley Conference win of the season over visiting Morehead State (7-15, 6-4 OVC). More importantly, it was TSU's first official conference win in seven years. The Lady Tigers were given a win by forfeit last season.
The Eagles dominated the first two games, taking them 30-23, 30-21, respectively. After the break, the Lady Tigers returned energized and took control of the game early on. Behind the serving of sophomore LaQuata Marsh (Chattanooga, Tenn.), Tennessee State jumped out to a five point lead. The Lady Tigers kept Morehead State at bay until Kelsey Cronin led a surge that knotted the game at 19. The teams continued to go point for point until the score was tied at 30. Junior Catherine Armwood (Durham, N.C.) smashed two massive kills to give Tennessee State the 33-31 win.
The Lady Tigers played the Eagles tight to open game four, beginning to smell victory. Cassie Garland led the Morehead State pull away with a service ace to make the score, 5-3. With her serving, the Eagles moved the score to 7-4. It then turned back into the LaQuata Marsh show, opening with a kill to bring Tennessee State within striking distance after Jennifer Kennedy pushed MSU up five, 11-6. Marsh railed off six straight points to knot the game at 12. The squads again traded points until Garland pushed for four and the Lady Tigers took advantage of a service error that moved TSU within three, 20-17. The teams went back and forth on the slim lead again until back-to-back kills by Armwood tied stalemated the game at 29. Junior Thereza Wright (El Paso, Texas) put the nail in the coffin with a service ace but a costly error sealed the box and gave the Lady Tigers the 31-29 win.
Only 15 points stood between Tennessee State and its first Ohio Valley Conference win of the season. Despite it being their first time going to five games, the Lady Tigers played calmly and watched costly errors move them closer to victory. With the game knotted at five, Armwood came through on three crucial plays, including a block with classmate Wright and back-to-back kills. The hotly contest game was tied again, this time at eight. Tennessee State moved to within three of victory and was halted briefly by an attack error by rookie Kelly Davis (Farrell, Pa.). However, she made up for it in fine fashion with a dramatic kill down the center of the floor for the 15-10 win.
Kennedy led the Eagles with 26 kills and 23 digs. Also notching a double double was Diana Zipp, with 11 kills and 12 digs. Garland and Cronin each recorded three service aces.
Armwood led the way for the Lady Tigers offensively with 18 kills and 13 digs. Junior Jennifer Washington (East Pointe, Ga.) recorded a season and match-high 28 digs. Freshman Allyson Buckner (Humble, Texas) tied her career-high 14 digs while classmate Davis contributed 35 assists.
Tennessee State returns to action on Tuesday, October 26 at Kean Hall against Tennessee-Martin. Match time is set for 7 p.m.