Rams Open Season with Dramatic Five-Set Loss to Augusta at Queens Fall Invitational

CHARLOTTE, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (0-1) volleyball team opened the 2017 season in dramatic fashion when the team took a five-set loss to the Augusta Jaguars (1-0) in the opening match of the Queens Fall Invitational, Friday morning. The Rams gave a great effort in the match. After taking losses in the two opening sets, 27-29 and 14-25, the Rams bounced back for 25-21 and 25-17 wins in the third and fourth sets respectively before taking a close 12-15 loss in the final set of the match.

The Rams took the loss behind a solid overall effort. As a team, the Rams totaled 60 kills with 31 errors, but also racked up 83 digs. WSSU junior outside hitter Mia Herrod led the way for the Rams with a team-high 17 kills while senior Jasmine Smith added 15 kills and fellow senior Sydney Holland added 11 kills as well. Holland also completed a double-double with 12 digs as well. She was joined by fellow senior Mya Snow who also recorded a double-double with a team-high 38 assists and 10 digs. Sophomore libero Makala Lytton led the Rams' defensive effort with 21 digs while senior defensive specialist Michelle Murray-Garcia added 16 digs as well.

The match started with a competitive opening set, but the Rams struggled in the second set. The match started in a dramatic fashion with the Rams and the Jaguars playing to a 14-14 tie before allowing a 6-1 run by the Jaguars to fall behind 15-20. The Rams would rally late in the set to erase the deficit with three straight points to tie the set, 24-24. However, after pushing the set to a 27-27 tie, the Rams allowed back-to-back scores by the Jaguars to take the opening set loss. The second was less dramatic as the Rams  allowed a 0-6 run by the Jaguars. However, the team battled back with three straight scores, including kills from Smith and freshman Jessica Young that pulled the Rams to within three points, 3-6. Unfortunately, the Rams struggled in the final points of the set, allowing a late 6-1 run by the Jaguars that sealed the 14-25 loss.

After struggling in their first two sets, the Rams showed their mettle, claiming wins in the next two sets. The Rams got things going quickly in the third set with a 15-7 run to open the set. Though Augusta staged a brief rally to cut the WSSU lead down to five points, 15-10, the Rams pulled away once again with three straight points, including a pair of kills by Smith and one from freshman Alexis Gregson-Hammond. The Rams would hold on to their lead, 24-15 before a furious rally by the Jaguars that included six straight points, but an Augusta service error ended the set and sealed the Rams' 25-21 set win. The Rams didn't waste any time in the fourth set of the match with an impressive 25-17 win. The team took control with a 14-7 start to the set before Augusta cut the WSSU lead down to five points., 17-12. With the Rams holding their five-point cushion, 22-17, the team ran off three straight scores to claim the 25-17 win with kills by Smith and Gregson-Hammond.

The fifth set of the match turned out to be another dramatic affair, but the Rams could not get the points they needed.  The Rams struggled early in the set, falling behind 0-4. But the team was able to bounce back, cutting their deficit to just two points, 10-12. However, the team would get no closer as the Jaguars pulled away to give the Rams the hard-fought loss.

With the loss, the Rams fall to 0-1 on the season. The team won't have long to wait for their next action as they will take on the California (Pa.) Vulcans in a 5:15 p.m. match at the Levine Center on the campus of Queens University of Charlotte.

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.