Tuskegee concludes volleyball with top 4 finish

BIRMINGHAM, Ala (goldentigersports.com) —  The Tuskegee University volleyball team played a grueling 10 sets in two matches on Thursday, splitting their two matches at the SIAC Tournament held at the Birmingham Crossplex and finishing fourth in the tournament.

Tuskegee (14-19) was stretched to its limits Thursday as they played 422 points against Clark Atlanta and Benedict.

In the opening match, the Tigerettes found themselves against a familiar opponent in a a familiar round as Clark Atlanta eliminated Tuskegee from the SIAC Tournament in this match last seaso. However, that was last season, and Tuskegee responded with a 3-2 (25-22,23-25,22-25,25-20,15-12) victory over the Panthers on Thursday.

The Tigerettes won the opening set before falling in the second and third sets to give Clark Atlanta a 2-1 lead. However, Tuskegee stormed out in the fourth set and took an 18-10 lead en route to the 25-20 win to force in a fifth game in which the Tigerettes did not trail.

Taliyana Bryant led Tuskegee with 18 kills, pacing three players in double digit kills in the match. Donovan Wingfield posted a career-high 17 kills, while Shakayia Wilson added 14. Janae Graham led Tuskegee with 56 assists and seven digs, while Zahria Radford finished with a match-high 24. Kiara Hooks finished with nine digs for the Tigerettes, who held Clark Atlanta to a .207 hitting percentage, while recording a percentage of .269 in the win.

Tuskegee battled in the second match of the day after dropping the first set to Benedict, before storming back to take sets two and three for a 2-1 lead. Benedict was able to withstand the barrage and won sets four and five to win the match 3-2 (21-25,25-21,25-22,19-25,10-15).

In the finale, Bryant set a new career high with 21 kills – topping the mark she had against Clark Atlanta in the regular season (20). She finished day with 62 total attempts and committed just five errors, while hitting .258 and converted on six digs for the Lady Golden Tigers. Donovan WIingfield led a trio of other players in double figure kills with 16, while Shakayia Wilson added 13 kills on 36 total attempts and Jessica Johnson 11. Janae Graham finished with a career-high 59 assists on the 64 Tuskegee kills, while Zahria Radford paced three players in double figure digs with 30. Graham added 13 digs to finish with a double-double, while Avery Brown also added 13 to give Tuskegee 86 digs in the match.