FLORENCE, SC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (1-3) had one of their better offensive performances, but the team fell short in a four-set loss to the Converse College Valkyries (1-3) in the final match of the Coker/Francis Marion Fall Invitational, Saturday afternoon. The steadily improving Rams had one of their better efforts in their 15-25, 27-25, 16-25, and 20-25 loss.
The Rams had a solid offensive effort in the hard-fought loss. As a team, the Rams totaled 46 kills in the match; two more than their opponents. WSSU junior outside hitter Ytae Cobb led the way for the Rams with 15 kills while freshman middle hitter Danyale Berry added 10 kills. Freshman libero added 21 digs while sophomore setter Brittany Carpenter had a double-double with 34 assists and 10 digs.
The opening set was a tough one for the Rams, but the team got things together and improved through the match. The team struggled early, falling behind early, but they fought their way back to within three points, 8-11. Unfortunately, the Rams allowed six unanswered points to the Valkyries. The Rams fell behind by as many as nine points, 12-21 before staging a late rally to cut their deficit down to eight points 15-23. However, the Rams allowed back-to-back scores to the Valkyries to take the 25-15 opening set loss.
The Rams had the answer to the Valkyries in the second set with a dramatic win. This time, it was the Rams who jumped out with a big effort with a 4-1 run to open the set. The Rams found themselves fending off a furious comeback effort from the Valkyries. As the set went on, the Rams remained in control with a 3-1 run that included kills from Berry and two from freshman Alexis Bynum that left the team on top, 20-16. From there, the Rams and Valkyries battled to a 24-24 tie. After a Cobb kill tied the set, 25-25, the Rams benefitted from a Converse attack error and a kill from junior Hailey Tatu that sealed the 27-25 set win.
The third set told a different story for the Rams as the team struggled to get the points they needed to pull out the win. It was the Rams who struggled early in the set, falling behind, 2-7. The Rams fell behind by as many as eight points, but the team would never get any closer as they took the 25-16 set loss.
The fourth and final set saw an improved effort by the Rams, but it was not enough as the team took the loss. The Rams had a better effort early in the set when a kill from junior Miranda Taylor gave the Rams an 8-6 lead. The Rams pushed their lead to as many as three points, 15-12 after a Converse attack error capped a three-point run by the Rams that left the team ahead, 15-12. After a Carpenter kill kept the WSSU three-point lead intact, 18-15 before the team allowed a five-point run by the Valkyries and fell behind 20-18. The Rams tied the set once again, 20-20 after a pair of kills from Bynum and Cobb. Unfortunately, the Rams allowed five unanswered points to the Valkyries to take the 25-20 set loss and the four-set match loss.
With the loss, the Rams close their opening weekend with a 1-3 record. The team will return to action, Wednesday when they head to Wingate, N.C. to take on the Wingate Bulldogs and the Belmont Abbey Crusaders in a tri-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.