FAYETTEVILLE, NC- The Winston-Salem State University volleyball team clinched the 2015 CIAA Championship title with a 3-1 win over Shaw University on Sunday afternoon in Capel Arena. The Rams earned the first CIAA Volleyball Championship for Winston-Salem State in program history dating back to 1978.
Winston-Salem State earned a 25-16 win in the opening set and dropped a narrow 25-22 decision to Shaw in the second set. The Rams earned 25-15 and 25-13 victories in the third and fourth sets, respectively to earn the CIAA Championship title.
Keveesha Wattley led the effort for Shaw with 15 kills. Kelly Murphy followed with 11 kills and 11 digs in the setback while Michelle Olmeda-Gonzalez handed out 36 assists and collected 14 digs. Tiffany Brooks added 14 digs for Shaw.
Olivia Owens recorded 12 kills in the historic win for Winston-Salem State. Her performance garnered her CIAA Tournament Most Valuable Player honors. Jocelyn Mills added 10 kills while Zipporah Foster and Mya Snow notched 15 assists and 10 assists, respectively. Sydney Holland grabbed 14 digs as Michelle Murray-Garcia added 10 digs.
The first set featured an early battle for momentum before the Rams grabbed an 8-6 lead behind a 4-0 run off of Teynia Sheperd's serves. Shaw stayed close on Winston-Salem State's heels but was unable to steal the momentum or the lead in the remainder of the set. The Rams secured the 25-16 victory in set one using a Shaw attack error.
The Lady Bears raced to a 10-3 lead at the start of the second set, forcing Winston-Salem to take a timeout. Down but not out, the Rams persistently chipped away at the deficit and back to take a 17-15 lead after two service aces by Holland. Shaw remained within striking distance and kept the score close down the home stretch of the second set. With the score tied 22-22, the Lady Bears used a kill by Murphy and two Winston-Salem State errors to secure the 25-22 set win.
The Rams fought back with vengeance at the start of the third set and jumped out to a quick 6-1 lead. Winston-Salem State clung tightly to the advantage and maintained control for the remainder of the third set. A kill by Mills secured the 25-15 victory for the Rams.
After trailing 3-1 at the start of the fourth set, Winston-Salem State rallied to score seven consecutive points behind Jasmine Smith's serves. From there, it was all about the Rams as Winston-Salem rolled to earn the 25-13 victory. Roselyn Mitchell secured the victory with a service ace.
Shaw ends their season with a 21-11 record after finishing 1-19 one year ago.
Winston-Salem State will represent the CIAA at the NCAA Atlantic Regional Tournament. The Rams advance with a 22-7 overall record and await word of their opponent. The NCAA Volleyball Selection Show airs November 23rd at 7:30pm.
Members of the CIAA All-Tournament Team include:
Sydney Cook- Lincoln University (PA)
Samira Luis- Fayetteville State
Adriana Hazou- Virginia State
Suraya Chase- Chowan
Kelly Murphy- Shaw
Tiffany Brooks- Shaw
Jocelyn Mills- Winston-Salem State
Syndey Holland- Winston-Salem State
Olivia Owens – Winston-Salem State (Most Valuable Player)