Hornets experience first loss of season



Khalil Stewart, Staff Reporter/Writer

The Alabama State Hornets (4-13) fell to the Jackson State Tigers (4-10) in a 3-1 set to drop their first conference loss of the season on Oct. 4.

The Hornets entered this match on a three-game winning streak, but they were still considered heavy underdogs due to facing the 2021 spring SWAC champions Jackson State University Tigers.  The Tigers were coming into this game after sweeping the Alabama A&M Bulldogs, so they felt confident.

The first set was competitive as the Hornets struck first as sophomore Jada Rhodes got a kill to open the match. The offensive kill by Rhodes sparked a 7-4 run from the Hornets. The Tigers would not be denied as they responded with an 11-4 run, which put them ahead 15-11 and forced the Hornets head coach Penny Lucas-White to call a timeout. After the timeout, the Tigers continued their run as they went up 19-12. 

Alabama State fought their way back, cutting the deficit to 22-24, forcing a Jackson State timeout. After the timeout, junior Kaylsia Bates had a major block, which cut the lead to 23-24. But the Tigers forced the Hornets into an error where junior Alex Ratliffit hit the ball twice, resulting in the final points for the Tigers to take the first set 25-23.

The second set was the most competitive.  There were five lead changes and 12 ties. Tied at 7-7, the Hornets went on a 16-13 run sparked by a beautiful kill from junior Lauren Hughes, forcing the Tigers to call a timeout. Jackson State came out of the timeout and tied the game 17-17, but sophomore Jada Rhodes helped the Hornets prevail 26-24 after she ended the match on a kill.

To begin the third set, the Hornets found themselves down 6-0 before junior Kalysia Bates landed a kill to help get on the board. Following this, the Tigers took an 11-5 lead. After the timeout, the Tigers continued with their run, as they went up 17-6. However, the Hornets did not go out without a fight, they closed the gap to 4, but they eventually lost the third set 25-17.

The final set was all Jackson State. The Tigers started out hot going up 8-5,  and they never trailed after that. The Hornets gave it their all but ended up falling 25-15 to drop their first conference loss of the season.

         In stats, the Hornet leaders  were junior Kalysia Bates, who led the team offensively with 10 kills, an ace and four blocks. Sophomore Jada Rhodes added 11 digs, nine kills and an assist. Junior Emersen Belles led the team totaling her season-high in digs with 25.

         The Hornets look to bounce back Oct. 10 as they travel to Tallahassee, Florida, to face the Southern Jaguars.