2018 Volleyball Season in Review
- The Tennessee State volleyball team finished the 2018 season with a 9-18 overall record, including a 7-9 mark in Ohio Valley Conference regular season games.
- The 2018 team began conference play 5-0, a record start for the Tennessee State program. The last time TSU began the conference schedule undefeated was 2007’s championship season when the Tigers went 2-0 before falling to Morehead State.
- The Tigers earned the eighth seed in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament, falling to No. 1 seed Austin Peay 3-0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-14) at Austin Peay in Clarksville, Tenn. This marks the first season TSU has taken a trip to the postseason tournament under head coach Donika Sutton.
- Texas-natives Julia Pierson and Rachel Henderson earned All-OVC First Team honors. The last time TSU had two players earn positions on the All-OVC team was 2015. Both have earned All-OVC Preseason honors, Pierson in 2017 and Henderson this year, 2018.
- TSU won two OVC Weekly Awards; JoJo Kruize – Newcomer of the Week (9/24/18); Gina Rivera Ortiz – Defensive Player of the Week (10/15/18).
- Big Blue finished second in the conference in blocks per set averaging 2.22 and totaling 250.5 over the season.
- Rachel Henderson led the Tigers in blocks for the second seaon in-a-row, surpassing last year’s 89 total blocks registering 111, allowing her to overtake Nkechinyere Olumba (98) in the single season total blocks record for the ninth spot.
- Junior-college transfer of Taylorsville, Utah, Hinalei Fihaki closed out the season with 100 total blocks. The last time two players finished with 100+ digs was the 2007 championship season with Kelly Davis and Christian Lowe.
- Freshman libero Gina Rivera Ortiz surpassed fellow Puerto-Rican libero Cherlie Adorno DeJesus (509) for the fourth spot in the single season digs record book, finishing the season with 541 digs.
- Junior-college transfer Laken Te’o recorded 1,007 assists moving her into the 9th spot in single season assists. The last time a setter finished with 1,000+ assists was 2015 when sophomore Samantha Beltran finished with 1,128.
HEAD COACH DONIKA SUTTON
(on trip to the tournament)
Well the first trip was amazing. I think it was a great experience, not only for the program, but definitely for the girls. They were able to be a part of the tournament, as well as the banquet and I think the award ceremony really sparked out lot of our young players to really strive to, one day, have their name called. If that’s what they’re going to work for, I think that’s great, but it’s all about us playing as a team and us going out there, not just making it to the tournament, but being a part of something bigger than having your name in the tournament.
(reflecting on the season)
Reflecting on the season, I feel that one of our biggest takeaways is that we know our strengths. We know exactly how strong we are and what we’re good at. With that, we know our weaknesses. It’s been a great opportunity to work on both. They were highlighted throughout the season. This spring, we know that we’re going to focus a lot on technique, a lot on individual training because I don’t feel like we did that as well this season. We know that we’re a great defensive team. We’ve made a lot of strides from last season, but we have so much further to go.