Kentucky State University volleyball snapped its four-game losing skid with a 3-0 sweep of Claflin University on the first day of the SIAC East/West Crossover at the Birmingham Crossplex on Thursday.
The Thorobrettes (5-5) reached a rough patch in their early season schedule against non-conference opponents, dropping contest to traditional powerhouses and two top-25 ranked squads over the last two weeks. But the 3-0 victory continues a strong stretch by KSU against SIAC opponents, winning seven of its last eight contests versus conference foes, dating back to late 2016. The lone loss in the impressive stretch was to CU in the SIAC tournament.
KSU and CU battled early in the first set with five lead changes and eight ties. The Thorobrettes propelled midway through as the match was tied at 15-15, and KSU spun off four straight points with a 19-15 lead. Following the aggressive play by freshman middle blocker Jalynn Roberts, KSU closed out the set with a 25-20 win.
Two intense spurts by the Thorobrettes told the story of the second set. Trailing 14-9, KSU went on an 8-2 run to take a 17-16 advantage. CU answered with two straight points, taking back the lead but it was short-lived as freshman outside hitter Makayla Martin cashed in for two service aces during a 5-0 run to put KSU back on top at 22-18, and leading to a 25-19 victory.
The momentum followed KSU in the third set, knocking off the Lady Panthers at 25-15.
Junior middle blocker Landri Greathouse and freshman outside hitter Robin Poole ranked as the trendsetters in kills at 10 a piece. The double-digit number of kills mark the fifth time this season, Poole has registered 10 or more kills in a match.
Sophomore setter Hannah Smyers continues to be one of the top assists providers in the conference, ranking as the seventh overall, and picking up 26 on the night.
KSU will face a tough task on Friday with three matches scheduled throughout the day, beginning at 8 am ET against Clark Atlanta University, followed by Paine College and Benedict College later in the day.
by Eric Mathews