Baton Rouge, LA – The Jackson State University Lady Tigers defeated the Alabama A&M University Lady Bulldogs to claim the 23rd Annual Southern University Invitational volleyball Tournament championship.
“Once again the tournament was a complete success,” said head coach Nathaniel Denu. “For the past 15 years the winner or runner-up from our event usually wins the SWAC tournament championship. Last season Prairie View won the 22nd Invitational and they won their first SWAC tournament championship.”
In game one of day two Arkansas-Pine Bluff Lady Lions came out sluggish versus Alabama A&M losing the first game of the match 16-30. That did not deter the Lady Lions as they forced the Lady Bulldogs to score 35 points in the final game to defeat UAPB in three. Pine Bluff’s Jasmine Jacobs recorded 18 kills and 11 digs to lead all scorers. Devona Williams ended the game with 15 kills to lead A&M.
With the Lady Bulldogs winning the 8:00 a.m. match they secured the top spot in Pool A. Their next opponent would be the runner-up in Pool B. That spot fell to the Lady Jaguars. Alabama A&M took no chance with the tournament hosts by jumping on them from the start controlling the entire game and eventually claiming a spot in the tournament championship game. Ena Payne once again led the Jags with 14 kills. Brittani Lewis and Devona Williams finished the game with 12 kills a piece to lead the way for the team from Huntsville, Alabama.
Game three of the day saw a repeat of the 2006 semifinal game between the top team from Pool B (Mississippi Valley State University Devilettes) and the runner-up from Pool A (Jackson State University Lady Tigers). JSU won game one 30-28 but Valley came together and took games two and three 30-21 and 30-26. After a five minute break the Lady Tigers kicked it into high gear and grabbed games four and five winning the match and setup an all Southeastern Athletic Conference Eastern Division championship game. Amanda Daniels led the way for J-State with 17 kills while Shatara Baydak recorded 16 kills and 16 digs for the Devilettes.
The 23rd SU Invitational Championship game finally had two teams, Alabama A&M versus Jackson State. A&M defeated the Lady Tigers in game one 31-29 but Jackson fought hard and won the final three games of the match 30-25, 31-29 and 30-27 to claim the invitational championship. Brittani Lewis finished the game with 18 kills and 10 digs to lead all scorers. J-State’s Amanda Daniels once again recorded 17 kills to lead Jackson.
After the championship game the All-Tournament team was announced:
- Alabama A&M Brittani Lewis 35 kills, five service aces, 29 digs and 5 blocks
- Jackson State Brittany Larkin 45 kills, 27 digs and 7 blocks
- Alabama State Jessica Holt 18 kills, three digs and 9 blocks
- Mississippi Valley Alyssa Knaus 59 digs, five assists, 5 service aces
- Arkansas-Pine Bluff Jasmine Jacobs 31 kills, 25 digs, 4 service aces, 3 blocks
- Southern University Ena Payne 52 kills, 15 digs, 3 blocks
The Most Valuable player of the tournament was Brittany Lewis from Jackson State while her coach, Rose Washington earned the coach of the Invitation award.