Tennessee State Tops Cougars
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - Tennessee State bounced back from an early deficit to defeat SIUE in four sets in Ohio Valley Conference volleyball at the Vadalabene Center.
SIUE, 9-16 overall and 4-6 in the OVC, won the first set but were edged in the next three sets by the Tigers. Tennessee State, 13-8 overall and 9-5 in the OVC, won the match 17-25, 25-22, 26-24, 25-23.
"Overall, I thought we started strong. We were competitive early and then our passing game broke down toward the end of the match," said SIUE Head Coach Leah Johnson. "That didn't allow us to run a very effective offensive, and we became predictable."
The Cougars came out strong in the first set as Jessica Hemann recorded six of her team-leading 14 kills. The SIUE senior middle hitter would finish the match with a .520 hitting percentage. Fellow middle hitter Kelsey Augustine and right-side hitter Brianne Graunke added 10 kills each for the Cougars.
SIUE minimized its errors in the first two sets as did Tennessee State. The Tigers put together 21 kills in the second set to tie the match.
Attack errors abundant in the final two sets, but the Cougars had set point in the third set before Tennessee State called timeout and went on to win the next three points. Shaquita Williams led the charge with one of her 15 kills for the match.
Johnson said Tennessee State's defense troubled SIUE. "It was frustrating to attack and tip against them because nothing hit the floor," she said. "Their blocking game increased in set three."
TSU's Terakka Walker led all players with 16 kills, including five in the decisive fourth set.
SIUE has one more home match before returning to the road. The Cougars play rival Eastern Illinois in a 6 p.m. match Tuesday at the Vadalabene Center.
"Eastern Illinois is playing really well right now. It's an opportunity to get back on the court and play. We are playing a better game of volleyball right now and using our entire bench. Being at home is going to be an advantage, and we look forward to hosting Eastern Illinois," Johnson said.