ORANGEBURG, SC (Sept. 13, 2021) – The Claflin Lady Panthers (1-2) once again showed some terrific fight, but the team could not quite pull out the victory when the team took a four-set loss to the Bluefield State Big Blues (2-3), Monday. After an impressive start to the match, the Lady Panthers ran into some struggles midway through the match that cost the team the match. The Lady Panthers gave a terrific effort in the fourth set of the match, but it was not enough for the team to claim the victory.
As a team, the Lady Panthers had a solid overall match, especially defensively. The team totaled 95 digs in the match with senior libero Trinity Fierce leading the way with 26 in the match. Junior middle blocker Sadaiya Edouard added eight total blocks (four solo). Offensively, it was the duo of junior Simone Newell and Edouard both added seven kills to lead the Lady Panthers’ offensive efforts.
Things looked great for the Lady Panthers in the early going as the team jumped out to a 25-17 win over the Big Blues in the opening set. The Lady Panthers took control of the set early but allowed the Big Blues to pull to within a point, 9-8. It was then that the Lady Panthers broke the set open when a kill by sophomore Danielle Branch capped a 9-3 run and left the Lady Panthers on top, 18-11. From there, the Lady Panthers would not allow the Big Blues to get any closer as they pulled away for the 25-17 opening set win.
The next two sets told a different story as the Lady Panthers took a 25-12 loss to the Big Blues. The Lady Panthers fell into an 18-6 deficit during the set and the team was never able to get back into the set and took the set loss. In the third set, the Lady Panthers continued to struggle as they fell behind the Big Blues, but the team showed signs of life late in the set. After falling behind, 13-19, the Lady Panthers staged a furious rally that was capped by a Newell kill that left the Lady Panthers trailing, 18-20. The Lady Panthers would pull to within a point of the Big Blues after an Edouard kill left Claflin trailing, 23-24, but an error on the ensuing serve ended the set and left the Lady Panthers with the 25-23 loss.
The fourth set turned out to be one to remember as both teams came out with a tremendous effort in the match. The entire set was close. The Lady Panthers allowed the Big Blues to go ahead by as many as five points, 11-16, but that was the largest deficit of the set. Later in the set, the Lady Panthers went on a 10-4 run that was capped by a Bluefield State error that gave the Lady Panthers a 21-20 lead in the set. The most impressive performance of the match came when the Lady Panthers trailed the Big Blues, 22-24, the Lady Panthers answered with an Edouard block that was followed by a service ace that tied the set 24-24. From there, the two teams continued to battle with neither team managing to get the two points needed to seal the win. After a kill from junior Monae Rowser tied the set 28-28, the Lady Panthers fell victim to an attack error and a Bluefield State kill that ended the match, 30-28.
With the loss, the Lady Panthers fall to 1-2 overall. The two teams will meet on the court once again when the Lady Panthers head to Bluefield, West Virginia to take on the Big Blues, Thursday. For more information on Lady Panthers volleyball, contact the Claflin University Office of Athletic Media Relations at (803) 535-5548 or log on to www.athletics.claflin.edu.