Tuskegee volleyball 2nd seed in SIAC tourney

TUSKEGEE, Ala. (goldentigersports.com) — The Tuskegee University women’s volleyball team earned the second seed from the SIAC West Division for the upcoming Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Tournament that will be held at the Birmingham Crossplex beginning Wednesday.

Tuskegee (12-17, 12-8 SIAC) earned the second seed with the 12 victories this season, a new conference-high under second year head coach Melissa Robinson. They finished just behind Kentucky State, a team with whom they split in the regular season.

The Lady Golden Tigers hit the floor Wednesday morning at 10 am against Benedict (East Division seed three), a team with whom they went five sets with earlier this season. In the way over Benedict earlier in the season when they came back in the afternoon and defeated Benedict 3-2 (14-25,17-25,25-22,31-29,15-12) at the SIAC Crossover. Taliyana 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. Janae Graham finished with 41 assists, while Zahria 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.

With a win, the Lady Golden Tigers would advance to play at 7 pm Wednesday, while a loss would put the team in the 4 pm match.

With the release of the tournament bracket, the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) all-conference teams were announced and the Lady Golden Tigers had two selections – both second team selections – this season.

Zahria Radford, a preseason all-conference selection, was named Second-Team libero after she led the conference most of the season in digs throughout conference play. She won multiple conference Player of the Week awards, and this season recorded double-digit digs in 23 of the team’s 28 matches. She had a streak of 10 consecutive matches in double figure digs, and another one of eight later in the year.

Meanwhile, Graham made the move from defensive specialist to setter this season and lead the Lady Golden Tigers in assists per set. A winner of multiple SIAC weekly awards, Graham has recorded an assist on all by 120 of the team’s kills in conference play this season. She has recorded 30 or more assists in 18 matches and 40 or more in six other matches. She recorded a career-high 44 assists in two matches this season, while also recording a double-double.

“I am happy they were selected all-conference,” Robinson said. “I wish we would have more that would have been able to make the team, but I understand how the process works. I think we had a few freshmen that could have made either of the teams, or even have been considered for one of the special awards since they have been at the top of the conference in offensive productivity all season. Hopefully this tournament can bring out even greater things of Tuskegee volleyball, and set the tone for years to come.”