Hornets make it four straight

Khalil Stewart, Staff Reporter/Writer

The Alabama State University Hornets (8-14) defeated Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Rattlers (14-6) in a five-set thriller on Oct. 17.

The Hornets were coming into this match-up after sweeping Alcorn State University. The Rattlers were coming off a sweep of their own against Southern University. 

During the opening set, the teams traded scores, with junior Alexis Ratliff earning two of the first three kills for the Hornets. After a 3-3 tie, Rattlers went on a run to gain a four-point lead, which made the score 9-4, forcing a Hornet timeout. The Rattlers continued their momentum from the break, but the Hornets fought back to tie the match 17-17. The teams stayed within a point of each other, but the Rattlers landed a kill and took the opening set 27-25.

The second set began as a tight battle before the Rattlers gained a 9-5 lead, forcing a Hornet timeout. After the timeout, the Rattlers took a 17-8 lead before junior Mahogany Vinson, and Alexis Ratliff added consecutive blocks making the score 21-10. The Hornets chipped away at the lead after kills from sophomore Jada Rhodes and a Rattler error. The Rattlers proceeded with their lead and took the second set 25-14.

In the third set, the rattlers jumped out to an early 9-4 lead and they extended that lead to 16-11. Junior Kalysia Bates sparked a run from the Hornets to tie the ball game 16-16, and later an 18-16 lead to force a Rattler timeout. After the timeout, the Hornets continued their run and took the third set 25-17.

The Hornets started slow once again in the fourth set, falling down by as many as nine points on two occasions. Trailing 20-11, the Hornets went on a 9-4 run to pull within three points and forced the second Rattler timeout of the set. Jada Rhodes got the first kill after the timeout, followed by Kalysia Bates, who added three straight kills and a block assist, giving the Hornets their first lead and a 27-25 win.

The fifth and final set began with the Hornets trailing 3-0. This forced them to call a timeout. After adding two kills after the break, junior Mahogany Vinson sparked a Hornet run, helping the Hornets take a 10-6 lead. The Rattlers battled back, but Mahogany Vinson secured a Hornets victory 3-2 for the set.

The Hornet stat leaders were Jada Rhodes, with a team-high 25 kills. Kaylsia Bates added 16 kills, 2 aces and 5 blocks. And Mahogany Vinson added 12 kills and 5 blocks on the day. The Hornet’s next match will be against Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University Bulldogs on Friday, Oct. 22.