SALISBURY, NC – With every match counting, the Winston-Salem State Rams (15-13, 14-3 CIAA) stepped up in a big way to claim a four-set road win over the Livingstone Blue Bears (8-14, 7-10 CIAA), Thursday evening. The Rams took their second straight win behind a great overall team effort to take the 21-25, 25-16, 25-20, and 25-21 victory.
The Rams overpowered the Blue Bears with a solid offensive effort to accompany some strong defense. As a team, the Rams totaled 46 kills in the match while holding Livingstone to just 36 kills in the four-set match. WSSU sophomore middle hitter Danyale Berry led the way for the Rams with a match-high 17 kills in the match.
It took a while for the team to get going as Livingstone took the opening set 25-21. The Rams took an early 5-2 lead before falling behind 10-14. The Rams would regain control of the set with an 8-2 run that featured three kills from Berry. The effort left the Rams on top, 18-16. From there, the set turned into a dramatic back-and-forth affair with the Rams taking a late 22-21 lead before three straight Livingstone points sealed the 21-25 opening set loss.
The opening set turned out to be a wake-up call for the Rams as the team broke out for control in the remaining three sets and never looked back. The Rams dominated the second set as they went ahead by as many as eight points, 20-12 after an 8-2 run. From there, the Rams benefitted from a pair of Livingstone errors en route to the 25-16 second set win.
The third set was equally impressive as the Rams rolled to the 25-20 win. WSSU took control early with a 6-3 lead that didn't last long. Soon, the score stood tied, 10-10, but the Rams would not relent. The team went on to a 16-13 lead, but Livingstone soon answered once again, tying the set, 16-16. From there, the Rams outscored the Blue Bears 9-4, including a five-point run that included a pair of Berry kills and one from sophomore middle blocker Alexis Gregson-Hammond. The effort left the Rams with the 25-20 win.
The fourth set saw another fierce battle, but the Rams prevailed once again. The two teams played to an 11-11 tie before Livingstone surged ahead and left the Rams trailing, 11-15. However, the Rams kicked things into gear in a big way with nine straight points in a rally that included five Livingstone attack errors. The effort left the Rams on top, 22-16. After claiming a 24-17 lead, the Rams saw a resurgence from the Blue Bears who scored four straight points. However, a kill from freshman Hailey Tatu ended the match and sealed the 25-21 set win and the four-set match win.
With the win, the Rams improve to 15-13 overall and 14-3 in CIAA play. The Rams will wrap up the 2018 regular season on the road when the team heads to Felton J. Capel Arena to take on the Fayetteville State Broncos in a 1:00 p.m. match, Sunday afternoon.
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.