WHEELING, WVA – The Winston-Salem State Rams (22-8) had a great 2017 season that came to an end in the quarter final round of the 2017 NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Tournament. The Rams gave a solid effort, but the team's offense could not stand up to the defense of the Wheeling Jesuit Cardinals (32-5), Thursday evening. The Rams were aggressive in the match, but the defense of the Cardinals proved to be too much in the 25-14, 25-16, and 25-12 loss.
The Rams gave a strong effort in the match, but the team could not find any holes in the touch Cardinal defense. As a team, the Rams totaled 101 attacks in the match, but the team managed just 26 kills while Wheeling Jesuit compiled 56 digs along with nine total blocks (one solo). The Rams were solid defensively with 18 total blocks (two solo). The WSSU senior duo of outside hitters Sydney Holland and Jasmine Smith led the way for the Rams with seven kills each while Holland also added 11 digs. Junior right side hitter Mia Herrod had six total blocks (none solo) in the match as well.
The opening set of the match was competitive early, but soon, the Cardinals pulled away. The Rams were able to stay up with the Cardinals, trailing 7-9 before Wheeling Jesuit began to pull away with a 9-2 run that left the Rams trailing, 9-18. The Rams continued to struggle in the set as Wheeling Jesuit pulled away for a 24-12 lead over the Rams before back-to-back WSSU scores with a kill from freshman setter Brittany Carpenter and from Brown. However, a Cardinal kill ended the set and gave the Rams the 25-14 loss.
The second set was the most competitive for the Rams, but the team would never quite get into the set. Things were tough early for the Rams as the team fell behind, 1-9 before back-to-back points got things started for the Rams. Later in the set, the Rams were able to show some life with a 5-1 run that included a pair of kills from Smith that left the Rams trailing, 9-13. After keeping the Cardinals to within five points, 16-21, the Rams allowed four straight points to the Cardinals to take the 25-16 loss.
In the third set, the Rams could not find any answers for the Cardinal attack. The Rams were able to secure their first lead of the entire match as a Smith kill left the Rams on top, 5-4. However, Wheeling Jesuit answered with a 4-2 run. The Rams would tie the set, 8-8 after a block from Brown and Holland. Later in the set, the Rams were able to keep the set within reach 12-14 before a monstrous 11-0 run by the Cardinals ended the match, 25-12.
With the loss, the Rams end the 2017 season with a 22-8 record and their second Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) championship and their second trip to the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Tournament.
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.