Courtesy of Scott Wallace, Tennessee State Athletics
MARTIN, TN — Their slogan for the Ohio Valley Conference tournament was #AllIn. The slogan became a reality as the Tennessee State Tiger volleyball team collected up 20 blocks en route to a 3-2 win (25-21, 16-25, 22-25, 25-22, 15-10) over the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks Saturday at Skyhawk Fieldhouse in the OVC Conference Championship Game. The title is the first for the Tigers since 2007 and the victory improved TSU’s’ overall record to 19-15 on the season.
The Tiger offense was paced by Johanna Alcantara, who finished with 15 kills on the day, and by Gabrielle Johnson, who had 12 while hitting .409. Defensively, had three players reach double figures in digs, including Gina Rivera-Ortiz’s 23, 12 from Carla Boudal, and 11 more from Sofia Garcia-Guerrios. From the front row, Kennedy Davis contributed 12 blocks and Johnson added seven rejections.
SEMO came in the defending OVC champions. Ortiz-Rivers, Alcantara and Davis were named to the All Tournament team, with Rivera-Ortiz grabbing the most valuable player award. This is an especially great win for the Tigers because they were picked last in the preseason.
» Tennessee State had three players in double figures in digs.
» Carla Boudal had a match-high four aces in the win.
» Kennedy Davis had a match-high 12 blocks.
» The Tennessee State front row did a great job defensively, picking up 20 blocks in the match.
» The Tennessee State block excelled in a fourth-set win, shutting down eight Southeast Missouri State attacks.
» Johanna Alcantara had a team-high 15 kills for Tennessee State giving her the record for single season kills in team history
» Tennessee State got a match-high 23 digs from Gina Rivera-Ortiz.
» Tennessee State attackers were helped by a team-high 35 assists from Sofia Garcia-Guerrios.
How It Happened
SET 1 | The Tigers endured a back-and-forth first set to win 25-21 in a stanza that featured three lead changes and was tied 11 times. Neither team led by more than four points in the match. got a solid defensive performance from a front row that blocked five Southeast Missouri State attacks in the stanza.
SET 2 | TSU then dropped the second set 25-16, tying the match at a set apiece. Tennessee State trailed by as many as nine points as Southeast Missouri State grabbed the advantage for good at 6-5 in a set that was tied up five times before the Redhawks took over the lead.
SET 3 | TSU fell again in the third set to make it a 2-1 deficit. The Tigers came up short by the score of 25-22. Southeast Missouri State grabbed the advantage for good at 21-20 in a set that was tied up six times before the Redhawks took over in the second half of the stanza.
SET 4 | TSU broke their two set losing streak and forced a fifth set with a 25-22 victory in set number four. The Tigers took control of the set at 2-1 and held the lead the rest of the way. Tennessee State led by as many as seven points at 24-17 before closing out the stanza. Tennessee State got an standout defensive performance from a front row that blocked eight Southeast Missouri State attacks in the stanza.
SET 5 | Tennessee State battled back from a 2-1 set deficit to win two straight sets, culminating in a 15-10 fifth-set victory, and lock down the 3-2 win. The Tigers took the lead for good at 10-9 in a set that showcased two lead changes before the Tigers took over the lead. got a solid defensive performance from a front row that blocked four Southeast Missouri State attacks in the stanza.
Next up is a berth in the NCAA Tournament.