The lone senior recorded 12 kills to lead Talladega College past Tennessee Temple in straight sets (25-11, 25-10,25-13) Thursday night.
“Senior Night is a big night and we definitely wanted to get a win for (Shalitha),” TC head coach Ron Burt said. “We wanted to send her out on a good note in her home finale and we did that as well as getting our 20th win of the season. I am real proud of the girls. We have come a long way this year.”
The win also earned the Lady Tornadoes their first 20-win season in school history. Burt gives his players the credit for the setting the school record.
“I have good core of kids,” Burt said. “(Shalitha) being my senior I am going to miss her. She is a great ball player and a great kid. The core group of kids that I had when I came in the credit goes to them. I just pushed, tweaked and molded them a little bit. They did all the hard work and everything that I asked them to do and it shows out there.”
The Lady Tornadoes took control early in the first set. Kills by Raven Black and Swain gave TC a 3-1 advantage. An ace by Paris Powell increased TC’s lead to 6-1. April Webb and Paris Powell recorded a kill apiece to make it 13-4. A block by Black then block assists by Black and Webb gave the Lady Tornadoes an 18-9 lead. Gabby Powell’s kill made it 19-9. T
C scored five points off the serve of Paris Powell to make it 24-10. Tennessee Temple’s PJ Sexton’s serve went out of bounds to give TC a 25-11 win.
The Lady Tornadoes dominated the second set. Swain got things started to make it 2-2 with a kill. A block by Chelsea Barry and Swain made it 4-3. Kills by Barry and Gabby Powell made it 8-4. Gabby Powell set up Webb for a kill to make it 11-7. Swain took over the game later in the set. The senior soared high above the net for three straight kills to give the Lady Tornadoes an 18-10 lead.
Sariah Williams’ ace gave TC a 21-10 advantage. Kills by Swain and Webb made it 25-10.
“(Swain) had three block assists and seven digs,” Burt said. “Defensively, she was outstanding. She also had 12 kills on 15 attempts without errors. She was ranked second in the conference, if this doesn’t put her No. 1 in hitting percentage nothing will. She has been awesome all year.”
Tennessee Temple made the third set competitive, but the Lady Tornadoes were able to pull away late to win the match.
Gabby Powell recorded 28 assists and three kills for TC. Webb had eight kills; Paris Powell had five kills, while Barry and Black recorded four apiece.
The Lady Tornadoes now turn their attention to the Gulf Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Nashville on the campus of Fisk University.
TC takes on Tougaloo in their first match of the tournament next Thursday.
“We have played them twice earlier in the season, Burt said. “We beat them twice, but I am not going to let the girls rest, we have work to do. Once conference play comes it is a whole new ball game. They are not a bad team but if we play our game we should be all right.”