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No Fly Zone, Tigers Soar Past UT Martin, 3-1
Saturday, October 19, 2013
No Fly Zone, Tigers Soar Past UT Martin, 3-1
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After an emotional five set win over Memphis earlier in the week, the Tigers carried the momentum in to their OVC weekend, flying past UT Martin, 3-1, on Friday.

Naomi Wells continued to show her hot hand as the reigning OVC Offensive performer of the week racked up 16 kills on the night combined with six digs. Wells was joined by freshman Arjiana Anderson posting 14 kills with a game high .414 hitting percentage. 

Senior setter Erika Moss posted 41 assists against UT Martin and now sits just 41 assists away from 4,000 in her career. The Fort Wayne, Ind. native already holds the career record for the Tigers.

Moss paired her assists with a game high 17 digs for a double-double performance. Junior libero Ileanushka Maldonado posted 15 digs to round out the Tigers defensive effort.

On the block TSU had four rejections, including two apiece from juniors Taylor Swayzer and Sherryce Butler

The night began with UT Martin (8-15, 2-5) connecting on the first two points to grab the early lead. Tennessee State (7-11, 3-4) and the Skyhawks would trade points but the visitors maintained the slim lead. TSU took the lead at 7-6 after an ace from junior Jamie Cooper, but the Skyhawks charged back and regained the lead.

 With UT Martin on top 14-12 junior Naomi Wells took matters in to her own hands leading the Tigers on a 6-0 run with Wells picking up three kills and an ace. The span gave TSU an 18-14 lead, but the Skyhawks rallied back with a 5-0 run to take the 19-18 lead.

In the closing moments of the first frame both teams rallied for long points, with the set tied at 20-20 the Tigers used the longest rally of the set to gain a 21-20 lead after an Erika Moss block. TSU would go on to close the opening frame, 25-23.

Tennessee State started off the second frame with a bang as they raced out to a 9-3 lead. The Skyhawks cut in to the Tigers lead trimming it to 9-5, but the home team used a 5-2 run to extend their lead to seven, at 14-7. Three straight points from UT Martin brought the Tigers lead back to four, at 14-10.

The lead swelled back up to eight, 20-12, with a kill from Naomi Wells. UT Martin didn’t go down without a fight as start performer Emily Keaton took to the service line rallying the Skyhawks to five straight points to cut the Tigers lead to just three, 20-17. Tennessee State proved to be too much late winning the second set 25-19, and hold the 2-0 set advantage.

Each team traded runs to start the third. With TSU holding a slim 10-9 lead, UT Martin used a 5-1 run and grabbed the 14-10 advantage. The Tigers would get as close as one on two different occasions but the Skyhawks held off TSU to win the third set 25-22, with the Tigers holding the 2-1 set advantage.

A 10-0 run to start the fourth set gave the Tigers a 10-1 advantage, the stretch was capped by an attack error by UT Martin. A 4-0 Skyhawks span trimmed the TSU lead down to 16-9, but the Tigers answered back, exchanging points with UT Martin to maintain the large lead.

Martin used a 4-0 run to trim the Tigers lead to just three, 21-18. A Taylor Swayzer kill ended the run with a kill to make the score 22-18, and leave the Tigers just three points away from taking the match. 

The Skyhawks rallied to close within one, 24-23, but the Tigers finished out the match with a Zoe Sostre kill giving them the set, 25-23. With TSU picking up the win 3-1.

Tennessee State returns to action tomorrow against Southeast Missouri in Kean Hall, first serve is set for 2 p.m.