Tuskegee sweeps Palmetto State schools in SIAC Crossover

ALBANY, Ga. (goldentigersports.com) — The Tuskegee University volleyball team ended a three-match losing streak at the SIAC Crossover, sweeping schools from the state of South Carolina Thursday.

Tuskegee (4-8, 4-2 SIAC) started the day off with a 3-1 (25-23,25-20,22-25,25-19) victory over Claflin, the former school of current head coach Melissa Robinson.

“It felt really good to get the win,” Robinson said. “We rallied together and played as a team in the opening match. We played really well, and we looked like a totally different team. We are headed in the right direction.”

Jessica Johnson led the way for Tuskegee in the opening match with 14 kills on 34 total attempts. The freshman finished the opening match hitting .265 against Claflin, while also adding eight digs. Although she was the only player in double figures in kills, three other players finished with seven or more kills. Taliyana Bryant finished with eight kills, while Shakayia Wilson and Donovan Wingfield with seven each.

Janae Graham finished with 33 assists and seven digs, while Zahria Radford finished with 15 digs in the opening match victory.

The Lady Golden Tigers came back in the afternoon and defeated Benedict 3-2 (14-25,17-25,25-22,31-29,15-12) to complete the sweep of the state of South Carolina.

“We played well as a team all day,” Robinson said. “Janae and Zahria are coming around and playing consistent for us, and Kiara (Hooks) stepped up today offensively. She did some things for us that really swung the momentum in our favor.”

Bryant led Tuskegee with 12 kills, while Hooks finished with a career-high 10 kills in 25 total attempts. The redshirt freshman finished hitting .240 in the match.

Graham finished with 41 assists, while Radford led three players in double figures with 33 digs. Brianna Fisher finished with 14 digs, while Avery Brown finished with 11 while the team finished with 92 digs overall.

Tuskegee finished the day with 85 kills, 76 assists, 142 digs and nine total blocks in the two matches.

“Defensively we had some key blocks,” Robinson said. “That has me excited because we haven’t been blocking the ball this season.”