Northwestern State returns home after two weeks on the road for a midweek match hoping to sustain the momentum it built this past week.
The Lady Demons (4-7) take on the fourth of five Southwestern Athletic Conference schools they’ll see this season in Jackson State on Tuesday night in Prather Coliseum. First serve is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Live stat and video links are available at http://www.nsudemons.com or on the NSU Athletics mobile app, a free download in either the Apple or Google stores.
Admission is free for all NSU home matches this season and fans are required to adhere to the clear bag policy and encouraged to wear masks while inside Prather Coliseum.
After a pair of thrilling wins on their opponents’ floors over the course of this past week, the Lady Demons have picked up some momentum as they head into the final tournament weekend before conference play.
“We’re happy with how we have developed over that last couple weeks,” head coach Sean Kiracofe said. “We still have a long way to go to be the team we want to be but there is some consistency developing with our outsides and the middles have continued to be a reliable position for us.
“Tie all that together and it’s allowed us to start to gain some momentum that I think we can keep going through this last tournament before SLC matches start. It’s never a straight line but we are getting the progress that we wanted before seeing conference opponents.”
A reverse sweep on the road at Grambling after falling behind 2-0, and a tense third-set win at Lamar that sparked the 3-1 win, also having to come from behind after dropping the first set, have boosted the spirits and confidence for the Lady Demons.
Three times in the past four matches, and in each of the last two matches at the Lamar Invitational, NSU had three players record double-digit kills in a match, matching the best such stretch since 2018.
Symone Wesley stood just ahead of the rest of the offense with 45 kills this past week but the distribution was evident for the offense. Breanna Burrell finished the week with 42 kills, Jaylibeth Garcia-Rosa added 30 and Kate Idrogo turned in 23 as the varied NSU offense takes even more shape through the non-conference schedule.
All that is coupled with an NSU defense that has held opponents under a .175 hitting percentage in three of the past four games as well. Haley Hoang remains the linchpin of that defense after collecting 70 digs on the week but the back row in any given rotation has two other players that have shown the ability to keep plays alive.
Idrogo had her first double-digit dig night against Grambling, also her first double-double as a Demon, Wesley led the team with 17 digs and Addison McDermott was second with 15 against UAPB and freshman setter Piper Boydstun added 25 total on the weekend in her first three starts at NSU.
The team is playing well after a successful road weekend and want nothing more than to continue that at home against the Lady Tigers.
Jackson State (0-6) is winless on the season after an 0-3 weekend at the North Texas Challenge where it suffered two sweeps and a 3-1 loss to former Southland team Abilene Christian.
The Tigers played an incredibly even match with the Wildcats with the teams matching totals in kills, aces and blocks and JSU tallying 10 more digs than ACU. The different came on the 32-15 attack error disparity. It was the most errors in a single match thus far for the Tigers.
Alexis Williams and Jylen Whitten lead the team with better than 2.20 kills per set and feature a sizable block of Marina Bianchi Brito and Jordan Jones who each average nearly one block per set on the year.
Photo Credit: Gary Hardamon