WINGATE, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (1-4) found points hard to come by against some tough defense in a three-set road loss to the Wingate Bulldogs (1-0) in the first match of a tri-match. The Rams had a solid start to the match, but faded later in the 25-22, 25-12, and 25-12 loss.
"I knew it would be a challenge. Everyone knows that Wingate was a Sweet Sixteen team from last year," WSSU head coach Kathy Bullock said. "With us being an especially us being a young team, but id didn't want to make any excuses."
As a team, the Rams struggled to get their offense in gear at times, but in the end, the team had a solid overall performance. The Rams totaled 21 kills in the match while allowing 50 to the Bulldogs. WSSU freshman middle hitter Danyale Berry led the way for the team with a team-high seven kills in the match. Junior outside hitter Ytae Cobb and junior outside hitter Miranday Taylor added four kills each. Berry was also impressive defensively with seven digs, but it was freshman libero Gabrielle Azar who led that category with nine digs.
"I knew it would be a challenge and we met the challenge in first set," Bullock added. "But we had problem finishing because were still trying to find our identity."
The Rams' best effort came in the first set when the team took a close 25-22 loss. The match was thrilling early as the two teams played to an 11-11 tie before taking a 19-15 lead after a kill from sophomore middle blocker Alexis Gregson-Hammond. However, things got tough for the Rams with Wingate going on a 9-1 run against the Rams and left the team trailing, 24-20. The Rams were able to score back-to-back points with a block from Berry and Cobb and a bad Wingate set. However, the Rams' bid was ended with a Wingate kill that sealed the 25-22 loss for the Rams.
The second set told a different story with Wingate taking an early lead. The Rams came out strong, but fell behind, 8-10. The team allowed a four-point run to the Bulldogs before a Berry kill ended the rally and left the Rams trailing, 10-15. From there, the WSSU offense was stifled as a kill from freshman Samantha Conde was the only offensive score of the Rams. The team added two more points from Wingate errors to end the set with the 25-12 loss.
The third set saw the Rams' struggles continue. Once again, the Rams allowed the Bulldogs to get out to a strong early start. The Rams fell behind 2-7 after a block from Berry and freshman Alexis Bynum. The Rams were able to keep things in reach, 8-14 before the Bulldogs outscored them 11-4 to end the set with the 25-12 WSSU loss.
"Some things we worked on materialized," Bullock added. "We were able to work in a new rotation and we were able to get Alexis Gregson-Hammond back into the game so I feel like we got her going."
The Rams would not have long to think on the loss as the team went on to take on the Belmont Abbey Crusaders in the second match of their 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.