For the second straight night, the TSU Women’s Volleyball team faced Bethune-Cookman in Houston Texas. BCU had won the previous night 3-1 led by Jordan Jefferson’s 14 kills and Ryleigh Taylor’s 27 assists. So, last night, they met at Stephen F. Austin High School for the rematch.
The two teams battled back and forth early in the first set until TSU went on an 8-2 run to take a comfortable lead. Both teams attacked the net, but the momentum was going TSU’s way. In the set, Alexis Austin had a nice ace that could not be countered. BCU would close the gap to make it 22-18, but TSU closed the set out by outscoring BCU 3-2 for the 25-20 first set win.
In the second set, BCU took the early momentum with strong play from Shayla Eugene (12 digs, seven assists). There were some great volleys with both teams showing their athletic ability to keep the volley alive. It was 8-7 TSU when BCU went on an 8-2 run of their own to take a 15-9 lead. Sterling Williamson had a nice second set as she was everywhere her team needed her to be. She would finish the night with 9.5 points. BCU would keep TSU on their heels for the rest of the set and go on to cruise to a 25-16 win to even the match.
In the third set, TSU made sure there would not be a repeat of the night before. They began the set playing hard and looking to score early and often. Down 5-4, TSU’s Breanna York (46 assists) found herself with her back to the net and the ball coming her way. All she did was lift her right arm and softly back-tapped a scoring shot taking the BCU defense by surprise. Later, she would give TSU a 7-6 lead with the soft touch again. The two teams went back and forth trading shots at 12-10 TSU. There was a great volley between the two with the ladies from both sides making great plays to keep the volley going. It was tied at 16-16 and then Williamson came through again for BCU with a huge spike for the 17-17 tie. From there, a kill from Kaitlyn Scroggins would tie it at 20 and then Radka Brichackova followed with a kill and ace for a 22-21 TSU lead. They would hold BCU for the 25-23 set win and a 2-1 lead.
It was on to set four and a chance for TSU to close out BCU. It began as another back and forth affair and more great volleying between the two teams. In one volley, Alexis Austin made a great save of what looked like a BCU point to tie the set at 6-6. For TSU, Atria Jells (led TSU with 18 kills) was the emotional leader firing up her team. She seemed to be at the right place and time early on. Another one of those soft-touch shots, this time by Austin, made it 12-11 BCU. Neither team would give way and with the score tied at 20-20, TSU got a big point to take the lead 21-20. Nia Stone forced deuce with a kill to make it 24-24, but BCU would take the 25-24 lead. Stone answered right back with another kill to tie it at 25-25. The teams would trade scores but BCU would prevail for the 30-28 set win to force a fifth set.
TSU would start the set as the aggressor, but BCU still managed to tie the set at 4-4. Each team had their runs but the momentum was with BCU. That forced TSU coach Jocelyn Adams to call a timeout. At 10-10, the refs appeared to have missed an out on BCU and gave them a point anyway for the 11-10 lead. That would prove to be a key point in the deciding set as BCU would finish it off for the 15-13 set and a 3-2 match win.
Other stars of the night:
Though it did not show on the stat sheet, I liked what I saw from BCU’s Julie Piedra. She really hustled out there and could be relied on to keep volleys alive. TSU freshman, Indyah Rideaux showed the power in her 6-foot frame.
TSU travels to Lake Charles La. to take on McNee State on September 10th. Stay tuned for more TSU Sports coverage from NGSC Sports.