NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State University volleyball team will look to get back on the winning trail this weekend as they play host to Austin Peay and Murray State at Kean Hall.
The Tigers (8-13, 2-4 OVC) take on the Governors (10-12, 4-2 OVC) on Friday night and then play the Racers (14-4, 5-1 OVC) on Saturday. TSU is currently in the midst of a two match slide, as is Austin Peay, but Murray State enters the weekend on a three-match winning streak.
The defense of the Tigers has been led by senior Ileanushka Maldonado all year. In her second year dawning the Blue and White, Maldonado has averaged 3.30 digs per set, has racked up 52 assists, and has earned 16 service aces. She posted her most impressive performance of the season at the Clemson Classic against William & Mary by totaling 22 digs for the contest.
Joining her in the defensive effort has been senior Naomi Wells and sophomore Taylor Patterson. Both players, Wells with 2.97 and Patterson with 2.19, have averaged more than two digs per set while Wells has added 35 blocks and Patterson has only committed a pair of service reception errors in 79 sets.
Defense will be a theme this weekend as both teams the Tigers face are strong on that side of the ball.
Austin Peay comes to Nashville off their first two conference losses of the season. The Governors dropped back-to-back matches last weekend to SIUE and Eastern Illinois. They are a formidable squad that is led by a do-it-all player in Jada Stotts. Alongside her 3.77 kills per set, Stotts averages 3.57 digs per set. She leads the team in both areas. April Adams is the Governors second player who averages over three digs per set (having seen at least 58 sets worth of action) adding depth to the Austin Peay back line.
Murray State began the season 9-0 and has suffered their only conference loss to Austin Peay on Sep. 27. The Racers have received some of the best defensive performances in the league and are led on that side of the ball by their libero Ellie Lorenz who has 4.77 digs per set in 62 sets. She leads a triumvirate of defenders as Sam Bedard (3.30) and Scottie Ingram (3.00) join her in the 3+ digs per set group. Ingram also leads the Racers attack with 3.48 kills per set.
The Austin Peay match, set for Friday at 6:00 p.m., is the Dig Pink match. Fans are encouraged to wear pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness. The band and cheerleaders will also be in attendance of the match with the Governors. The contest with Murray State is slated for Saturday at noon.