FLORENCE, SC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (1-2) got their first win of the season in dramatic fashion when the team took a five-set win over the Lees-McRae Bobcats (0-3), Saturday morning at the Coker/Francis Marion Fall Invitational. The Rams took the win with a late rally with back-to-back wins in the fourth and fifth sets to claim the 25-19, 23-25, 16-25, 25-15, 15-11 victory.
The Rams took the win behind their best offensive performance of the season. As a team, they totaled a season-high 60 kills in the match, including a career-high 26 kills from junior outside hitter Ytae Cobb and 13 kills to accompany three service aces from freshman middle hitter Danyale Berry. Sophomore setter Brittany Carpenter added 50 assists along with a service ace. Defensively, freshman libero Gabrielle Azar led the way with 22 digs. Berry also recorded 10 digs.
The match got started in a dramatic fashion. The two teams played to an 8-8 tie before the Rams pulled ahead 13-11 on a kill from junior Miranda Taylor. From there, the Rams took control of the set with a five-point rally that included a pair of Cobb service aces and left the Rams on top, 19-12. From there, the Rams held off the Bobcats and cruised to the 25-19 opening set win.
As dramatic as the first set was, it fell short in comparison to the second set. The set was a close most of the way, but the Rams allowed a 4-1 run by the Bobcats to fall behind, 12-18. However, the team staged a late rally that included a 5-1 run to pull to within a point, 23-24. However, a WSSU service error ended the 23-25 loss for the Rams.
The third set was tough one for the Rams. The team fell behind early and could get no closer than three points, 9-12. From there, the team was outscored 11-7 to take the tough loss. The set loss left the Rams behind, two sets to one.
After some third set struggles, the Rams kicked things into gear in a major way. The Rams dominated the fourth set from beginning to end. After jumping out with four straight points, the Rams pushed their lead to as many as 11 points when an LMC attack error capped a seven-point rally by the Rams that included a both a kill and a block from junior Reenah Harris. The effort left the Rams with their largest lead of the match, 20-11. From there, the Rams pulled away to claim the 25-15 win.
The fifth and deciding set was a dramatic one with both teams looking to claim the win. The Rams jumped out early with an 8-4 lead at the midway point of the set. From there, the Rams held off a charge from the Bobcats that cut the WSSU lead down to just one point 12-11. The Rams would not be denied with three straight points, including a pair of Cobb kills and an LMC attack error. The three-point run sealed the Rams' 15-11 set victory as well as the team's 3-2 match victory.
With the win, the Rams improve to 1-2 on the season. The team will return to action later this afternoon with a 5:00 p.m. match against the Converse College Valkyries. 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.