For six straight years, they have been one of the best to ever grace the court in the SWAC’s West Division. As this season winds down, the Lady Tigers volleyball team is looking to make it seven years straight that they have held the division title.However, before they could do that, they had to defeat an undefeated Prairie View A&M Panthers team, a team that wanted revenge. Last year, the Lady Tigers knocked the Lady Panthers out of the SWAC Tournament in a fierce match-up that went five sets, deflating their chances to defend their 2006 championship.
This year, the Lady Tigers only needed four sets to fully dispose of the Lady Panthers. The first set went to GSU 25-15. However, in the second set, the Lady Tigers ran into trouble, dropping the set 20-25.
“We stopped hitting the ball and stopped passing,” said Coach Kim Young.
Young quickly corrected her squad’s errors, as they won the next set 25-14. The final set went down to the wire, with both teams trading points and errors, letting the set be tied at 23-all.
However, the Lady Tigers pulled out the win, scoring the next two points to win the match.
“They went in with a strong mindset, and we won,” said Young of the last night’s game. “We played together and we stayed positive with each other and we pulled through a victory.”
After hearing of their victory, Marcus Evans was ecstatic.
“I love what they are doing,” he said. “Hands down, they are the truth!”
Long road ahead
It’s been a long road for the Lady Tigers volleyball squad. It’s been a decade since they last captured the SWAC Championship, a ’97 team that Young was on. Since then, Ala. A&M has won seven of the last ten volleyball SWAC Championships.
However, that hasn’t fazed the team.
“We feel like we’re number one,” said Latisha Stennis, “All of the hard work pays off.”
Indeed it has. As of Oct. 26, the Lady Tigers are ranked number 1 in the NCAA Division I in aces per set. They also have four players ranked in the top 100 for the aces per set category.
With the season nearing its end, the Lady Tigers are prepared for one goal.
“All our hard work is starting to come together by us being undefeated in the SWAC,” said Kayla Tiangco-Williams. “We’re just trying to keep the momentum going. We are trying to go into the SWAC Tournament undefeated. Hopefully, we’ll come out as SWAC Champs.”
That goal may be a lot harder than it looks. Last year, the Lady Tigers were one win away from winning the SWAC title, only to see Alabama A&M dominate them in the final match, winning 3-0. However, the Lady Tigers aren’t looking into the past, as they are trying to prove that they are the best team.
“At practice, Coach tells us that we have to play together as a team,” said Stennis.
“I feel like we have a great opportunity of winning the SWAC Tournament this year.”
With Grambling State hosting the SWAC Tournament this year in the Assembly Center and an undefeated streak on the line, the Lady Tigers are feeling the pressure, but are still as cool as the other side of the pillow.
“It’s safe to say we have a bull’s eyes on the back of our jerseys,” said Tiangco-Williams. “We’re confident in ourselves. We’re trying to win the SWAC Championship.”
Fans are also ready for the championship to return to GSU.
“It’s good that the team is ‘rolling like an 18-wheeler’ and aiding Grambling in reaching the Commissioner’s Cup,” said Alonzo Marish, one of the trainers for the team.
Stennis said that the team is prepared to come out as victors in the SWAC Tournament.
“As long as we play our game, as long as we strive to be the better team, we’ll come out on top.