Courtesy of Savannah State Athletics
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. – Savannah State volleyball picked up three big wins this weekend at the 2022 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Crossover.
The Lady Tigers played five matches over two days against SIAC West teams in the LakePoint Sports Center in Cartersville, Georgia. With every team in the conference facing off in cross-divisional matches over the two-day tournament, the wins and loss shifted the conference standings.
Savannah State moved into third place in the SIAC East Division following their wins. They are 6-8 overall this season and 6-4 in conference. They trail Albany State (10-5, 10-2 SIAC)—who they beat in Tiger Arena last week—and Edward Waters (13-6, 7-1 SIAC), who they play this week.
On Friday, Savannah State played two matches against Lane College and Central State. They dropped a close first set to Lane, 23-25. Lane sealed up the 3-0 match win with 25-20 and 25-13 wins in the next two sets.
In game two on Friday, Savannah State squeezed past Central State to open with a 25-21 set win. They took set two 25-18, but fell in set three 25-20. In the final set, the Lady Tigers annihilated Central, 25-6, to win 3-1.
Savannah State opened Saturday’s three game swing against Kentucky State. The Lady Tigers opened with a 25-20 win in set one, and quickly moved to a 2-0 match lead with a 25-13 win in the second set. After trailing 0-4 to open set three, Savannah State bounced back on some great serving from Jasmine Nettles to win the set 25-22 and take the 3-0 match victory.
The Lady Tigers faced three-time SIAC defending champions Spring Hill in the second game on Saturday. They fell in straight sets, 14-25, 12-25 and 11- 25.
In the final game of the tournament, Savannah State played LeMoyne-Owen College. They won the first two sets, 25-19 and 25-21. In the third set, they got down early and struggled to rebound, falling 22-25.
Savannah State opened the fourth set with a 5-1 run. Midway through the set, LeMoyne-Owen knotted it up at 14. Out of a timeout, the Lady Tigers made some gains on kills from Destiny Gaines and Destinee Langston.
But it was a late 6-1 run, sparked by three kills from Allena Norton and a service ace from Langston that sealed up the 25-18 set win and the Lady Tigers sixth conference victory this season.
Over the five games, Savannah State racked up some impressive stats. Newcomer Jessee Grubesic led the setters with a combined 60 assists over five games and six service aces.
Langston led the offensive effort with 50 kills over five games, as well as 36 digs and five service aces. Nettles had 36 kills, 45 digs and seven service aces. Destiney Gaines had 18 kills. Libero Kloe Ludy led in digs with 68 and tacked on three service aces.
Part of Savannah State’s success this year has been tough defense at the net. The team combined for over 30 blocks spanning the five-game tournament.
Leading them was Gaines who recorded six solo blocks and 12 block assists. Norton had five block assists and one solo block. Serita Butler had six block assists and Dorothea Ruffin tacked on seven block assists of her own.
Savannah State is ranked No. 6 in the SIAC in total team blocks this season. Nettles leads the SIAC and is ranked No. 39 in NCAA Division II in aces per set—with a total of 21 this season. Grubesic is ranked No. 6 in the SIAC in assists per set—with a total of 220.
The Lady Tigers return home this week for a big SIAC East Division matchup with new member Edward Waters on Thursday. The Jacksonville Tigers beat Savannah State twice in 2021 as a provisional SIAC member. This year, the match will count towards the conference record. The last time Savannah State beat Edward Waters was in 2009.
First serve in Tiger Arena on Sept. 29 is set for 6 p.m.