Courtesy Dave Redden & KSU Athletics
Kentucky State University volleyball continued its trek towards a second consecutive Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament title and its fourth in five years with a 3-1 win over Albany State University on Thursday afternoon at the Birmingham Crossplex.

The victory propelled the Thorobettes (25-12) into the conference championship game for the fifth straight season and will await their opponent for the Friday afternoon match up.

“It was very important that we walked away with this win and it showed our depth as a team,” said head coach Katrina English. “Everyone was committed to the win and it showed. I’m very proud of what we accomplished, but we are not finished.”

Each set on the afternoon proved to be a battle as three of the fours set were decided by just two points. KSU took an early advantage following a 27-25 opening set win. Freshman middle blocker Jaylnn Roberts slammed five kills to lead the way in the set victory.

ASU answered in the second set, pushing into extra play for the second straight set and a 30-28 victory, tying it up at 1-1. Momentum shifted in the third set, as senior middle blocker Landri Greathouse recorded six impressive kills in the 25-23 victory. KSU rode the aggressive play into the fourth and final stanza for a 25-18 win.

Three players notched double-doubles, and nearly a fourth. Freshman outside hitter Robin Poole recorded her team-leading 10th double-double of the season with 14 kills and 19 digs. Fellow freshman outside hitter Makayla Martin repeated nearly the same stat line with 13 kills and 18 digs.

Sophomore setter Hannah Smyers picked up her third straight double-double in as many matches with 37 assists and 14 digs. Greathouse came within one block of a double-double as she registered 14 kills and nine blocks. Her counterpart Roberts followed up her stellar first set with 14 kills on the day.

KSU will play in the championship round at 3 pm ET (2 pm CT). The Thorobrettes will only have to win one match to capture the SIAC title and a berth into the NCAA Division II Championship Tournament. KSU would have drop two matches to be eliminated.

by Eric Mathews