WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (7-3, 4-0 CIAA) opened Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) play in a big way when the team took an impressive four-set win over the Fayetteville State Broncos (6-5, 3-1 CIAA), Thursday evening. The Rams looked good throughout the entire match to claim the 25-15, 20-25, 25-23, and 25-17 win.
As a team, the Rams gave a great overall performance in the match, but it was the team's defense that keyed the win. The Rams totaled 48 kills in the match while the Broncos added 41 of their own. However, the Rams owned the front line with 30 total blocks (two solo) in the match. WSSU junior middle blocker Christa Brown led the way for the Rams with 14 kills and nine total blocks (two solo) in the match. Junior outside hitter Mia Herrod added 16 kills of her own with six blocks (none solo). WSSI sophomore libero Makala Lytton added 14 digs while senior defensive specialist Michelle Murray-Garcia added 11 digs as well.
The match began with an intense opening set that saw the Rams fend off a hot start by the Broncos, but soon staged a huge rally of their own to pull away with the win. Fayetteville State started the set with a 5-3 lead, but the team soon heated up with a five-point rally to take an 8-5 lead. From there, the Rams remained in control 16-13 before pulling away with a 9-2 run to close out the set. The run included three kills from Brown along with a pair from senior outside hitter Sydney Holland as well.
The next set saw momentum swing to the other end of the court with Fayetteville State taking the 25-20 set win over the Rams, but WSSU would soon answer with as impressive fourth set. Once again, it was Fayetteville State that jumped out early with the 5-3 lead. This time, the Rams broke out with a five-point rally of their own to take an 8-5 lead over the Broncos. The team pushed its lead to as many as five points, 12-7. It was after the Rams took a 17-12 lead that the team really put things in gear with a 5-1 run that left the Rams on top, 21-13. Fayetteville State would answer in a big way, going on a 7-2 run that cut the WSSU lead down to three points, 23-20. The work was not done for the Rams even after a Brown kill left the Rams on top, 24-21 and the Broncos added back-to-back scores to pull to within a point of the Rams. But sophomore middle blocker Brycelin Spidel was able to close the set with a kill that sealed the 25-23 win by the Rams.
With the finish line in sight, the Rams closed out the match with another great performance in the fourth set. This time, it was the Rams who jumped out to the early lead as a Brown kill left the Rams on top, 8-5. The Rams pushed their lead to five points, 13-8 after a kill from Smith. Once the Rams claimed a 20-16 lead, the team went into full cruise control to outscore the Broncos, 5-1 to end the match with the 25-17 score in the fourth set.
With the win, the Rams improve to 7-3 overall and remain a perfect 4-0 in CIAA play. The team also opens CIAA Southern Division play with a 1-0 record. The Rams will return to action, Monday, when the team heads to Raleigh, N.C. to take on the Saint Augustine's Falcons in another division 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.