WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (6-3, 3-0 CIAA) got their fifth straight win when the team took a three-set victory over the Virginia Union Panthers (3-4, 1-2 CIAA), Sunday morning on the second day of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Round Up. The Rams put on a stellar overall effort to claim the match, 25-16, 25-15, and 25-17.
The Rams put on one of the best overall efforts of the season to claim the victory. As a team, the Rams totaled 42 kills in the match while holding Virginia Union to just 19 kills. The Rams also totaled 14 total blocks (two solo). WSSU senior outside hitter Jasmine Smith led the way with nine kills for the Rams while freshman middle blocker Alexis Gregson-Hammond added seven kills. The Rams' defense was especially impressive with 39 digs. Senior libero Michelle Murray-Garcia totaled 15 digs.
The Rams took control early to pull away from the Panthers in set one. After opening the set with a 2-2 tie, the Rams outscored the Panthers, 15-3 to take a commanding 17-5 lead. Virginia Union answered with a six-point run of their own to cut the WSSU lead down to six points 17-11. However, the Rams staged a late surge to pull away with the win. Holding a 21-15 lead, the Rams outscored the Panthers 4-1 to close out the set.
The second set looked like more of the same for the Rams. Once again, the Rams kept the match close early, but once again, the Rams broke out to take control of the match. The Rams opened the set trailing, 4-5, but the Rams came to life with seven straight points to claim an 11-5 lead. After pushing their lead to double digits, 23-13, the Rams had to fend off a late run by the Panthers with back-to-back scores before kills from Smith and Gregson-Hammond to close out the 25-15 set win.
The third set was a heated match up with the Rams. But in the end, the Rams would prevail. After taking a close 11-9 lead before going on a 4-1 run to take control, 19-11. The Rams added another 3-1 run later to take a 23-15 lead. From there on, the Rams wouldn't allow the Panthers any closer to seal the 25-17 win.
With the victory, the Rams improve to 6-3 overall and remain a perfect 3-0 in CIAA play. The Rams will return to action, Thursday when the team hosts the Fayetteville State Lady Broncos 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.