RALEIGH, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (11-4, 8-1 CIAA) gave it their all, but the team fell short in a classic five-set road match against the Shaw Bears (17-2, 9-0 CIAA), Thursday evening. After taking losses in the first two sets, the Rams staged a furious rally to push the match to a fifth set, but the team fell just short in the final set of the day. In the end, the Rams fell, 22-25, 17-25, 25-23, 27-25, and 9-15.
The Rams took the loss in spite of a great overall effort. As a team, the Rams totaled 49 kills in the match, but the team committed 30 attack errors. WSSU senior outside hitter Mia Herrod led the way for the Rams with 15 kills while fellow senior outside hitter Jasmine Smith added 11 kills. Defensively, WSSU junior middle blocker Christa Brown finished the day with three total blocks (none solo). She also added three service aces. Sophomore libero Makala Lytton added 21 digs.
Though the first two sets were competitive, the Rams struggled to overcome the Bears early in the match. The opening set got off to a hot start with the two teams playing to a 5-5 tie before the Rams fell behind, 10-18. After playing to a 17-23 score, the Rams staged a late rally with four straight points to pull to within two points, 21-23. A Herrod kill was all that the Rams could manage before Shaw closed the set to give the Rams the 23-25 opening set loss. The second set was much less exciting as the Rams struggled to keep up with the Bears. After playing to a 7-7 tie, the Rams allowed an 8-2 run by the Lady Bears that left them trailing 9-15. It was then that the Rams kicked things into gear with a 3-1 run that pulled the team back into the set, 12-16. From there, both teams turned on their defensive efforts with neither scoring more than two points in a row. In the end, the Rams fell 17-25.
The next two sets belonged to the Rams with the team stepping up to the challenge after losses in the two opening sets. The Rams opened the third set in a big way, taking an early 8-4 lead. Shaw would answer with back-to-back scores, but the Rams had an answer of their own with a four-point run to stay on top, 13-6. The Rams pushed their lead to six points 19-13 before the Bears staged a 7-2 run to tie the set, 21-21. However, with the match on the line, the Rams refused to go away when the closed the set with a 4-2 rally that included kills from senior outside hitter Sydney Holland along with Smith. The effort gave the Rams the 25-23 set win.
In the fourth set, the Rams once again fended off a late run by the Bears to take the set win and forced a decisive fifth set. The Rams opened the set on a down note, allowing three points to the Bears, but the team soon answered with a 9-4 run to go ahead 9-7. From there, the two teams played to a 17-17 tie with momentum swinging back and forth through the set. The Rams fell behind 19-21 before staging a 6-4 rally to tie the set, 25-25 and forced extra points. From there, the Rams took the set with back-to-back scores on a kill from freshman setter Brittany Carpenter and a Shaw attack error. In the end, the Rams took a 27-25 set win and forced a decisive fifth set.
After forcing the final set, the Rams could not quite keep things going in the final set, falling 9-15. The Rams opened the set on a down note, falling behind 2-7. The team would not go away as they staged a 5-2 rally to pull to within two points, 7-9. However, the Rams would not notch another kill with Shaw going on a 6-2 run to close out the match and handed the Rams the 9-15 loss.
With the loss, the Rams fall to 11-4 overall, and 8-1 in Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) play. The Rams will return to action, Monday when the team hosts the Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls in a 7:00 p.m. match. For more information on Rams volleyball, contact the WSSU Office of Athletic Media Relations at (336) 750-2143 or log on to www.WSSURams.com.