BOWIE, MD (September 24, 2022) – The Claflin Lady Panthers (6-1, 1-1 CIAA) gave a great effort, but the team was overwhelmed in a three-set loss to the Elizabeth City State Lady Vikings (8-6, 2-0 CIAA) on the first day of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Volleyball Round Up. The Lady Panthers had some great play early in the match, but the team wore down as the match went on to take the 22-25, 21-25, and 16-25 loss.
The Lady Panthers played some solid defense in the match, but the team was not able to get their offense going against the Vikings. As a team, the Lady Panthers totaled 27 kills in the match with 43 digs and nine total blocks (one solo). Junior outside hitter Danelle Branch led the way for the Lady Panthers with nine kills and a block (one solo). Senior outside hitter Simone Newell added six kills. Defensively, sophomore libero Jasmine Kirkland led the way with 20 digs in the match. Four Lady Panthers added two blocks (none solo) each in the match.
In the opening set, the Lady Panthers came out with some terrific play. The Lady Panthers controlled much of the set and took a 19-13 lead after a Branch kill capped a 9-2 Claflin run. Unfortunately, the Lady Panthers offense went a bit cold after the run as the team allowed the Vikings to rally and finished the set with the 25-22 loss. The second set saw another solid effort for the Lady Panthers, but the team didn’t have enough magic to pull the win out of the hat. The Lady Panthers never held more than a two-point lead. After falling behind, 13-19, the Lady Panthers mounted a solid comeback effort. They cut their deficit down to just three points, 20-23 after a kill from senior setter Erin Preston. However, the Lady Panthers were not able to complete the comeback and they finished the set with the 21-25 loss. In the third set, the Lady Panthers could not seem to find a groove. After allowing ECSU to build a 5-1 lead, the closest that the Lady Panthers would get would be three points, 5-8, after a kill from sophomore middle blocker Taneja Robinson. Things never got better for the team as they fell behind by as many as 10 points, the Lady Panthers were able to finish the set with the 16-25 loss.
With the loss, the Lady Panthers fall to 6-1 overall and 1-1 in CIAA play. The team will return to action, tomorrow when they return to the CIAA Volleyball Round Up. The Lady Panthers will take on Lincoln (Pa.) at 9:00 a.m. with a match against Virginia State at 1:00 p.m.
For more information on Lady Panthers volleyball, contact the Claflin University Office of Athletics Media Relations at (803) 535-5548 or log on to www.athletics.claflin.edu.