BATON ROUGE, La. – Jackson State won the 2015 SWAC Volleyball Tournament Championship with a 3-2 (25-14, 17-25, 25-23, 25-13) win over defending champion Alabama State at the Clifford Seymour Gymnasium Sunday.
It is the third title in five years for the Tigers (15-21), and the first since 2012.
In a battle of the top two seeds in the SWAC Eastern Division, it was the top-seeded Tigers that roared out of the gate with a 13-3 start to the match. Alabama State (21-15) never mounted a consistent offensive response – the Hornets committed nine errors as opposed to seven kills in the period – as the Tigers cruised to an opening-set triumph.
The roles switched in set two, as the Hornets opened things up on a 9-3 scoring run. Despite spurts of offense from Jackson State, 11 errors in the set derailed any attempt at a sustained comeback, and the quick start was enough to fuel Alabama State through the frame.
A back-and-forth third started to lean in favor of the Tigers when they earned the advantage with six straight points to snap a 9-9 tie. Jackson State looked poised to wrap up the period, but Alabama State reeled off four straight points to cut JSU’s lead to 19-17. The Tigers halted the rally with one of their own but held off a late ASU charge to claim the set.
In the fourth set, the Tigers broke a 6-6 game open with a 13-4 run that ultimately powered the Tigers to the title.
The Tigers were led by Taija Thomas, who notched 14 kills and three digs. Tournament MVP Mikayla Rolle added 13 kills, three blocks and two service aces. Alexsis Ford picked up 13 putaways as well, and Jenna Siddiqui accounted for 11 kils, 31 assists and six digs.
Alabama State's Myla Marshall picked up 14 kills and six blocks. Kori Kutsch put up 24 helpers and five digs. Rachel Smith had eight kills.
Jackson State clinches an automatic berth in the NCAA Volleyball Tournament, and will find out its opening-round opponent during the tournament selection show, which will be Nov. 29 at 8 p.m. on ESPNU.