Rams Advance to CIAA Semifinals with a Three-Set Win Over Virginia Union
RICHMOND, VA – The Winston-Salem State Rams (17-9) began the post-season in style when the team took a three-set win over the Virginia Union Panthers (9-13) in the quarterfinal round of the 2019 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Volleyball Championship Tournament. The Rams took the win behind one of their best overall performances of the season to claim the 25-16, 25-17, and 26-24 victory.
The Rams combined a powerful offensive effort with a strong defensive effort to claim the win. As a team, the Rams totaled 38 kills with six service aces in the match. The team was equally impressive on defense when the team totaled 80 digs. WSSU senior outside hitter Ytae Cobb led the way for the Rams with nine kills in the match. Freshman middle blocker Niyonna McIntyre added seven kills as well. Defensively, sophomore libero Myra Wallace recorded 20 digs in the match. Not far behind her was senior outside hitter Miranda Taylor who recorded 19 digs. Junior outside hitter Tailar Jackson added 17 digs.
The Rams got the match started with an impressive effort. After a competitive start to the match, the Rams exploded midway through the set to claim the win to start the match. After playing to a 6-6 tie early, the Rams 10-3 run to surge ahead 16-9. From there, the Rams cruised to the win. The team was especially impressive late with four straight points. The run was capped by a kill from McIntyre. The Rams finished the set with a 25-16 win.
The second set was just as dominating for the Rams. Once again, the set was competitive early, but the Rams exploded for an early run to take control. After playing to a 4-4 tie, the Rams went on an 8-2 run that was capped by a block from McIntyre. The Rams steadily stayed ahead of the Panthers with the team building an 18-14 lead. It was then that the Rams pulled away, outscoring the Panthers, 7-3. The run was capped by a Cobb kill that ended the set, 25-17.
The third set was the most competitive, but the Rams prevailed in the end. This time, the Rams jumped out to an 8-2 lead over the Panthers. It was the Panthers who would make a big run as the Rams allowed them to cut the WSSU lead down to one point, 8-7. The Rams would not relinquish it, however. After holding a 12-10 lead over the Panthers, the Rams went on a four-point run that was capped by a kill from sophomore setter Rylee Wilson. The effort left the Rams ahead 16-10. Things got interesting in the final moments of the match. After the Rams went ahead, 23-20, WSSU allowed the Panthers to score four unanswered points to fall behind, 23-24. The Rams answered when freshman Sanaa Lanier scored a kill that tied the set, 24-24. The score was followed by a Cobb kill and a Wallace service ace that sealed the match, 26-24.
With the win, the Rams improve to 17-9 on the season. The team also advances to the semifinal round of the 2019 CIAA Volleyball Championship Tournament. The Rams will take on the top-seeded Fayetteville State Broncos in a 7:30 p.m. match at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Virginia. 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.