WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (14-13, 13-3 CIAA) picked up a key Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Southern Division win when the team claimed a three-set victory over the Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls (16-8, 13-4 CIAA). The win avenges a four-set loss in Charlotte and closed the home court regular season for the Rams.
The Rams took the win behind a great effort on both sides of the ball. As a team, the Rams totaled 34 kills in the match. The Rams especially stood out on defense when the team held the Golden Bulls to just 17 kills in the match. The Rams also benefitted from a tremendous service game with 12 service aces in the match. WSSU sophomore middle hitter Danyale Berry led the way for the Rams with a double-double 13 points and 11 digs in the match. She also added a team-high six service aces in the match. Junior outside hitter Ytae Cobb added seven kills before leaving the match with a knee injury.
The Rams took control of the set in the first set and rarely looked back. After allowing three straight points to the Golden Bulls to score the first three points of the match, the Rams took control of the set with a 16-3 run to go ahead 16-6. From there, the Rams went ahead by as many as 12 points, 22-10 before fending off a late comeback effort by the Golden Bulls to hold on for the 25-18 set win.
The second set was a more dramatic one, but the Rams still came out on top. WSSU jumped out early behind Berry's strong service game. The Rams jumped out to an 8-2 lead during a run that included three Berry service aces. The led did not last, however, as Johnson C. Smith came back with a 7-2 run to leave the Rams trailing, 10-11. The two teams would play to a 23-23 tie before a JCSU attack error and a service ace from freshman Myra Wallace sealed the Rams' 25-23 set win.
There was much less drama in the third set as the Rams pulled away late to claim the match win. After playing to an 8-6 lead, the Rams took control of the set with an eight-point run that included two kills from sophomore middle blocker Alexis Gregson-Hammond to take a 16-7 lead. From there, the Rams cruised to the win as the Golden Bulls got no closer than eight points, 23-15. From there, a JCSU attack error and a Berry kill ended the set and the match, 25-16.
With the win, the Rams improve to 14-13 overall and 13-3 in CIAA play. The team improved to 7-3 in the CIAA Southern Division to move into second place. The Rams will return to action, Thursday when the team heads to Salisbury, N.C. to take on the Livingstone Blue Bears in a 6:00 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.