DAVID CAMPBELL/UNIVERSITY PHOTOGRAPHER
The Alabama State University Lady Hornets (2-12) dominate in their sweep of the Alabama A&M Bulldogs (0-13) in their first home game of the season on September 24.
The atmosphere was electric in the Hornets’ first conference play of the year. The two teams battled it out inside the Dunn-Oliver Acadome, where ASU’s Street Team led the charge in providing the energy for the volleyball team’s return to play at home. From the beginning, they made their presence felt as every Hornets’ score was met with a thunderous roar from the crowd.
The first set was the most competitive, with both teams trading blows through its entirety. After trading the lead within the first 10 points, the score was all tied up until sophomore outside hitter Jada Rhodes recorded a kill to take back the lead for the Hornets. ASU led for most of the way after this.
Despite being down for most of the set, the Bulldogs did not lay down for the Hornets. They fought back after multiple runs by the Hornets and responded with a run of their own. In a 20-20 tie, one run could be the deciding factor. The Hornets would be the one to go on that run, and it would be capped off by another kill by Rhodes. ASU won the set 25-23 and went up 1-0.
The Hornets controlled the second set after the Bulldogs earned the first score off an error. The height advantage on ASU’s side of the court allowed them to seize control and go on a major run to put them up 12-4, forcing an A&M timeout. The Bulldogs could not bounce back coming out of the timeout, only scoring two more points for the rest of the set. ASU continued to pour on the points and forced A&M to make a lot of errors. They cruised to a 25-6 win and led the match 2-0, one set away from a sweep.
The final set would be more of the same. The Hornets came out the gate with three straight points as miscommunication plagued the Bulldogs. ASU continued their run and went up 12-3, forcing another Bulldogs timeout. The Hornets played a great set all-around, especially on the front line. That play led to the final strike by junior middle blocker Mahogany Vinson to give the Hornets the 25-9 win, completing the sweep.
Several of the Hornets filled up the stat sheet in this match. Rhodes led the team with 10 kills in this game. This double-digit kill game would be the fourth consecutive game for the Tallahassee native. She also pitched in with six digs and two aces. Junior middle blocker Alexis Ratliff was not too far behind Rhodes in the kill category, recording eight of them in this match. Junior defensive specialist Emerson Belles recorded a season-high 18 digs. The Arizona native also chipped in with an ace and an assist.
The Hornets look to build on this performance and take it into the rest of the season. The second game of the Hornets four-game homestand will be against the Auburn University Tigers September 26, right back in Dunn-Oliver Acadome.