Grambling State hosts Texas Southern on SWAC Digital Network
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Southwestern Athletic Conference Digital Network makes its first foray to volleyball this evening, with a pivotal early-season matchup on tap that pits one of the league's upstarts against a longtime contender within the SWAC.
Grambling State (7-14, 3-3 SWAC) will host Texas Southern (5-8, 3-3 SWAC) tonight at 6 p.m. at the Frederick C. Hobdy Assembly Center in Grambling, La. The teams are currently locked in a three-way tie for second in the SWAC Western Division along with Prairie View A&M.
Grambing State comes into the contest fresh off a sweep of Prairie View Sunday evening. Leading the way for the home-standing Lady Tigers is Chasity Nicks and Kevreion Ward. The duo have combined for 370 kills thus far this year -- Nicks with 187 and Ward with 183 -- and both sophomore hitters rank in the top 10 in the SWAC in kills per set, as Nicks stands fourth (2.56 K/S) and Ward comes in at eighth (2.44 K/S).
Grambling's Erineka Mollere also paces the conference in total digs (344) and digs per set (4.53).
Texas Southern, on the heels of a four-set defeat at Southern last night, counters with sophomore outside hitter Alexis Austin. The Fort Worth, Texas native's 123 kills -- on a .229 hitting percentage, sixth-best in the SWAC -- is tops among Texas Southern players. New face Kirby Anderson (76 K, 50 B) has developed into one of the best two-way players in the league, ranking fourth in hitting percentage (.240) and second in blocks per set (1.14).
Nicks and Ward will have to contend with TSU's formidable front-line defense, as the visiting Lady Tigers boast the best block per set average in the league at 2.44. The match itself could be highlighted by defense, as Grambling (.166) and Texas Southern (.176) rank second and third, respectively, in opponent hitting percentage.