Alabama State wins fourth volleyball title in five seasons
Alabama State 3, Texas Southern 1 (25-20,21-25,25-21,25-18)
JACKSON, Miss. - Alabama State prevailed over Texas Southern in four sets to claim its fourth Southwestern Athletic Conference Volleyball Tournament championship in five years at Lee E. Williams Athletic Assembly Center Sunday afternoon.
Ni'yesha Brown led all players with 15 kills. Krysta Medearis and 2017 SWAC Volleyball Tournament MVP Briana Dorsey posted 10 kills each. Kori Kutsch dished out 24 assists with seven digs. Candace Martin notched five kills and seven block assists. Justus Tuiolosega posted 13 assists and Asha Daniels led with 15 digs.
Texas Southern's Cassidy Jannson and Kirby Anderson put down 12 kills each, with Jannson adding 13 digs. Alexis Austin chipped in 10 kills. Ellena Torress (16) and Asia Howard (15) combined for 31 helpers, and Erin Adams posted 12 digs.
Neither side gave much ground in set one before sloppy play by Alabama State -- in the vein of attack errors -- allowed Texas Southern an 11-9 advantage. Alabama State regrouped to knot things up at 18. The Lady Hornets went on to claim the set with a 7-2 run as consecutive TSU attacks went wide, and Krysta Medearis and Candace Martin stopped an Austin attack.
Much like set one, the second set saw Texas Southern snatch the lead early only for the Lady Hornets to even it up 18-18. This time, the Lady Tigers kept control of things, as Nia Stone smashed two kills to open things up for Texas Southern. After Ellena Torres snuck one past ASU's front line, the No. 3 seed tied it with a Jannson kill.
Texas Southern's tendency to start strong continued into the third set, as an Anderson kill made it 11-8 Lady Tigers. Alabama State then rattled off a 8-1 run -- four points via TSU misfires -- to take a 16-12 lead. Up 19-14, the Lady Hornets threatened to pull away before Texas Southern made a charge with a 6-2 run to get within one. Alabama State then talked things over and came back to seal the set in its favor after a kill from Brown.
The momentum began in the corner of the Lady Hornets in the initial goings of set four, as Brown connected on two smashes to put Alabama State up 8-4. The Lady Tigers came out of the timeout with a 4-0 spurt to tie the match at 8-8. Alabama State returned fire with a 5-0 run of its own and with Brown and Dorsey leading the way, the Lady Hornets ran away with the match -- and the title -- down the stretch.
The All-Tournament team is listed below.
Victoria Pearson, Prairie View A&M
Cassidy Jannson, Texas Southern
Kirby Anderson, Texas Southern
Alexis Austin, Texas Southern
Ni'yesha Brown, Alabama State
Briana Dorsey, Alabama State (TOURNAMENT MOST VALUABLE PLAYER)
Candace Martin, Alabama State