Hornets defeat Golden Eagles in five set thriller

Khalil Stewart, Staff Reporter/Writer

The Alabama State University Hornets took on the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles in Lockhart gymnasium on Nov. 4. The Hornets entered this match looking to continue their eight-game winning streak. 

The opening set was tightly contested, with both teams being separated by no more than two points throughout the first half of the set. The Golden Eagles took a 14-12 lead, which led to a Hornet timeout. After the timeout, the Hornets took an 18-15 lead after going on a 6-1 run. The Golden Eagles went on to call a timeout, but the Hornets would ultimately prevail, taking the first set 25-22.

The second set was much like the first. Both teams tied 13 times with four lead changes. The Golden Eagles were forced to call a timeout after a kill from sophomore Jada Rhodes assisted by senior Mckenzie Boland to give the Hornets an 18-16 lead. They went on to take a 22-17 lead after a service ace from junior Emersen Belles. The Hornets went on to take the second set, 25-17. Kalysia Bates landed a kill and two errors from the Golden Eagles.

The Golden Eagles took an 11-8 lead to begin the third set, forcing a Hornet timeout. After the timeout, the Hornets tied the match at 16 and a few rallies later 20-20. Unfortunately, the Hornets could not complete the sweep after dropping the third set 25-21.

The fourth set was another tight contest. Both teams tied six times within the first 20 points. With the score 8-8, the Golden Eagles went on an 8-1 run to take a 16-9 lead. The Hornets battled hard, but the Golden Eagles came out of the fourth set victorious.

For the fifth and final set, the Hornets regrouped and jumped out to an early 8-4 lead, forcing a Golden Eagle timeout. The Golden Eagles only scored four more points in the set, and the Hornets maintained their momentum to take a 15-8 win, extending their win streak to nine.

The Hornets have won nine straight games dating back to Oct. 10. Three Hornets recorded double-digit kills in the match. Sophomore Jada Rhodes led the way with 17 kills and 10 digs. Juniors Kalysia Bates and Mahogany Vinson added 15 and 12 kills as well. Rhodes also is the first Hornet to record 250 kills on the season; she currently has 251. 

The Hornets will head to Mississippi for their final road trip of the regular season. They will travel to Mississippi to face Mississippi Valley State University on Sunday, Nov. 7, and Jackson State University on Monday, Nov. 8.