Grambling Volleyball splits SWAC Round-up matches with FAMU

Courtesy of Brian Howard,Senior Associate AD for Athletic Communications, Grambling State University

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. | The Grambling State University volleyball team opened the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Round-up on Sunday by splitting a pair of matches as the Lady Tigers fell, 3-0, to Florida A&M in the opener, before taking the nightcap, 3-2, to host Alabama A&M at the T.M. Elmore Gymnasium. 

In the opener against Florida A&M, Grambling State (8-8 overall, 5-1 SWAC) dropped its first set in SWAC play, 25-17 and fell behind by two sets to the defending SWAC Tournament champions, 25-13. The Rattlers handed the Lady Tigers their first SWAC defeat with a 25-21 loss in the third set.

Against host Alabama A&M, the Lady Tigers fell behind by as many as seven points and held off five straight set points, before falling 25-22. GSU tied the match at 1, taking the second set, 25-18 and used a furious 12-3 run in the third set to claim the 25-20 victory. The Bulldogs won the fourth set, 25-22, but Grambling State dominated the fifth set and won the match 15-8.

Match 1: Florida A&M 3, Grambling State 0 [25-17, 25-13, 25-21}

First Set 

  • Florida A&M raced out to a 9-2 advantage, forcing Grambling State to call a timeout
  • The Lady Tigers battled back to close the gap to 12-7
  • The Rattlers were forced to call a timeout as GSU continued to chip away at the deficit, 13-11
  • GSU cut the margin to 14-13, but Florida A&M used a 6-0 run as the Lady Tigers were forced to call their second timeout
  • Grambling State continued to play from behind, closing the gap to 21-16
  • FAMU closed out the opening set, 25-17

Second Set 

  • Grambling State opened the set with leads of 3-1 and 5-2
  • However, Florida A&M responded with a 7-0 run to grab an 9-5 advantage
  • The Lady Tigers continued to fight from behind, cutting the deficit to 11-8
  • The Rattlers pushed the advantage to 20-13 as GSU called a timeout
  • Florida A&M wrapped up the second set, 25-13

Third Set 

  • Much like the second set, Grambling State opened the frame with a 3-1 lead
  • The Lady Tigers held a slim, 9-8 advantage, before the Rattlers grabbed their first lead of the set, 11-10
  • FAMU took a 19-16 lead, but Grambling State refused to go away quietly, cutting the margin to 19-17
  • The Rattlers forced GSU to call a timeout, up 22-18, but GSU continued to battle back, closing the gap to 23-21
  • Florida A&M scored the final two points to win the match, 25-21


  • Grambling State finished with 26 kills in 81 total attacks, with 14 errors
  • The Lady Tigers registered 30 digs, 24 assists, 7.0 total team blocks and one service aces
  • Destiny Thomas paced the offense with eight kills
  • Ana Calderon dished out 11 assists
  • Nyah Ellis led the defense with nine digs
  • Florida A&M finished with 47 kills in 100 total attacks, with 19 errors (hitting .260)
  • The Rattlers recorded 40 assists, 37 digs, nine service aces and 5.0 total team blocks
  • Dominique Washington and Aja Jones tallied 13 and 11 kills, respectively
  • Irem Ucar registered 35 assists
  • Isis Williams posted 12 digs

Match 2: Grambling State 3, Alabama A&M 2 [22-25, 25-18, 25-20, 22-25, 15-8]

First Set 

  • Alabama A&M, playing in front of its home crowd, jumped out to a 6-3 advantage
  • The Bulldogs forced the Lady Tigers to call a timeout as Ra’Niya Brown finished a kill to give AAMU an 11-6 lead
  • Alabama A&M extended the lead to 15-8 after an attacking error by Kai Williams
  • Grambling State used a 5-0 run to close the gap to 15-13
  • The Bulldogs responded with a 5-1 run to push the lead to 20-14
  • AAMU had four set points, when leading 24-17, as Grambling State closed the gap to 24-22, before Bailey Duckett gave the Bulldogs the 25-22 victory

Second Set 

  • With GSU leading 9-8, Haley Gomez’s kill sparked a 4-0 run as the Lady Tigers took a 13-8 advantage
  • Alabama A&M closed the gap to 19-16, but back came GSU, extending the lead to 22-17 after a kill by Destiny Thomas
  • Grambling State didn’t look back in taking the set, 25-18, to tie the match at 1

Third Set 

  • The Lady Tigers opened the frame on fire, racing out to a 6-1 lead
  • Back came Alabama A&M, on the heels of a furious 8-3 run to tie the set at 9 and force GSU to call a timeout
  • The Bulldogs continued the run with two more points to grab an 11-9 lead
  • That would be the last time Alabama A&M would hold the lead in the set
  • Grambling State used a 12-3 run to take a 21-14 advantage after a kill by Jayden James
  • The Bulldogs closed the gap to 22-19, but that was as close as AAMU would get 
  • The Lady Tigers closed out the set, winning 25-20

Fourth Set

  • Alabama A&M stormed out the gate with an 11-5 lead
  • Back came Grambling State as the Lady Tigers took a 15-14 lead after a block by Gomez
  • A pair of attacking errors gave GSU a 17-14 advantage 
  • The Lady Tigers continued to lead, pushing the margin to 20-17, after a kill by Zyonn Smith
  • AAMU rallied and forced a GSU timeout, tying the set at 20
  • The Bulldogs took a 23-21 advantage off a service ace by Tammy Melendez Mondragon
  • GSU could not rally as Alabama A&M forced a fifth set, 25-22

Fifth Set

  • The Lady Tigers led 5-3, but the Bulldogs answers, tying the set at 5
  • Grambling State followed with the next seven straight points to grab the 12-5 lead as Alabama A&M called timeout
  • Alabama A&M got as close as 14-7, but GSU closed out the five-set thriller, 15-8


  • Grambling State finished with 60 kills in 191 total attacks, with 33 errors
  • The Lady Tigers recorded 83 digs, 55 assists, 13 service aces and nine blocks
  • Jayden James led four players in double-digit kills with 14
  • James also finished with 18 teams on the defensive end
  • Haley Gomez recorded 11 kills (hitting .391), with six total blocks and five digs
  • Maggie Plush tallied 10 kills (hitting .316) 
  • Kai Williams added 10 kills 
  • Ana Calderon recorded 26 assists, while Hillary English posted 25
  • Defensively, Nyah Ellis registered a team-high 23 digs and Zyonn Smith added 20
  • Alabama A&M finished with 39 kills in 163 total attacks, with 31 errors
  • The Bulldogs registered 84 digs, 38 assists, 11 blocks and seven service aces

Grambling State wraps up SWAC Round-Up play on Monday morning against Mississippi Valley State. First serve is scheduled for 11 a.m. from Elmore Gymnasium.

Next Match:
vs. Mississippi Valley State
10/10/2022 | 11 a.m.

Team Statistics

Hitting %.148.280

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