JACKSON, Miss. – Alabama A&M (3-15, 3-3 SWAC) delivered a 3-2 (20-25, 25-19, 25-18, 18-25, 16-14) decision on the final day of the SWAC Eastern Division Cluster against Texas Southern (4-14, 3-1 SWAC) in an NCAA Division I women’s volleyball match on Sunday, October 10.
The Tigers opened the set with a 7-0 rally and would extend their lead by scoring seven of the next 11 points for a 14-4 advantage. A&M would then score three straight before producing a 13-8 run to close the gap and only be down by two. TSU would then open up the set by earning the final three points to win 25-20.
Texas Southern started the second frame with a narrow 7-5 lead before the Bulldogs unleashed a 6-0 stretch that included three kills by freshman middle hitter Sydney Morant (Columbus, Ohio) to pull ahead 11-7. With the score at 19-13, the teams would go back and forth before A&M closed out the victory 25-19.
TSU managed a 12-9 margin in the third set, however, AAMU took five of the next eight points to close the gap to one. They would then wrap up the set with an 12-3 margin to win 25-18.
The fourth set would see the Tigers produce another early advantage, this time 7-3 before the Bulldogs unleashed a 6-0 stretch to take the lead by two points. Texas Southern responded with a 12-6 run before A&M had a 3-0 burst to close the gap to 19-18. TSU would score the final six points to notch a 25-18 victory and force a defensive fifth and final set
In that set, the teams would battle out to a 9-9 deadlock before going back and forth and being tied four times while alternating who led three times. The Bulldogs would pull away gaining the final three points to win the set and match with a 16-14 victory.
Senior outside hitter Ashley Jordan (Bridgetown, Barbados) and freshman middle hitters Ryann Tolbert (Southfield, Mich.) and Alondrah Santana (Toa Baja, Puerto Rico) led the Bulldogs with 14,12 and 11 kills, respectively. Freshman setter Aerienne Acuff (French Lick, Ind.) ignited the offense with 23 assists while sophomore setter Isis Mitchell (Plano, Texas) finished with 20.
Defensive specialist Maci Battle (Meridianville, Ala.) came away with 17 digs, while freshman defensive specialist Abigail Cangelosi (Huntsville, Ala) chipped in with 15. Mitchell finished with 14 digs to round out the top performers.
Thali Cordero-Moreno had 13 kills for the Tigers while Danielle Lilley notched 12 and Aeris Ramsey fueled the offense with 27 assists. Kyira Porch led the defense with 22 digs and Lilley had 17.
The Bulldogs will return to the court on Sunday, October 17 as they battle against Bethune-Cookman in Daytona, Florida. Game time is slated for 12 p.m. CST.