WINSTON-SALEM, NC (October 25, 2021) – The Claflin Lady Panthers (11-8, 8-3 CIAA) got one of their biggest wins of the season when the team went on the road to take a four-set road win over the Winston-Salem State University Rams (7-12, 5-5 CIAA). The team took the win behind some timely defense, winning 11-25, 25-23, 25-15, and 25-18.
The Lady Panthers’ defense was the key factor in the match. As a team, the Lady Panthers totaled 39 digs in the match to claim the win. Senior libero Trinity Fierce led the way with 11 digs while junior Danielle Branch and junior Simone Newell both added seven digs each in the match. Offensively, the Lady Panthers spread their offensive output across the team with 39 total kills in the match. Sophomore Mya Broom led they with seven kills while Branch, Newell, and senior middle hitter Sadaiya Edouard each added six kills in the match.
The opening set saw some struggles by the Lady Panthers, but the team got things in the final three sets. In the first set of the match, the Lady Panthers struggled early, falling behind, 5-1. The team would storm back to tie the set, 8-8, after a service ace from senior setter Monae Rowser capped a 6-2 Lady Panther run. Later in the set, the Lady Panthers fell victim to a 13-2 run by the Rams that ended the set and gave the Lady Panthers the 25-11 opening set loss.
Things turned around for the Lady Panthers when the team took a clutch win in the second set to take control of the match and never looked back. The two teams battle back and forth throughout the set. After the Lady Panthers took a 12-4 lead to start the set, the team allowed Winston-Salem State to whittle away at their lead and tied the set, 20-20. From there, the two teams went back and forth to a 23-23 tie before a WSSU attack error, and a Branch kill, ended the set and gave the Lady Panthers the 25-23 set win.
The second set win spurred the Lady Panthers to a pair of dominating wins in the third and fourth sets. In the third set, the Lady Panthers jumped out to a 16-4 lead and never looked back. The Lady Panthers only allowed the Rams to get as close as eight points, 22-14 before closing the set with a 3-1 run that sealed the set win. The fourth and final set saw another dominating performance from the Lady Panthers. While the team broke out early and ran away with the set win, the fourth set was different. The Lady Panthers had to battle early before the team pulled away late to claim the set and the match win. The Lady Panthers took a 15-12 lead after a pair of Ram errors to claim a lead that they would never give up. When a kill from Edouard gave the Lady Panthers as 23-18 lead, the Lady Panthers closed out the set with another Edouard kill and a Winston-Salem State bad set that ended the 25-18 set win and sealed the Lady Panthers’ four-set win.
With the win, the Lady Panthers improve to 11-8 overall and 8-4 in Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) play. The win solidifies the Lady Panthers’ spot in second place in the CIAA Southern Division. The team will return to action, Friday, when they head to Fayetteville, North Carolina to take on the division leading Fayetteville State Broncos in a 6:00 p.m. match.