FSU LADY BRONCOS WINS SEASON-OPENER OVER CLAFLIN 3-1 Fayetteville State Opens 2012 Campaign with Four-Set Thriller
Ifeyinwa Nwokolo led all with 14 kills and 2 block-assists
The Fayetteville State volleyball team held off the Claflin Panthers in four sets on Wednesday evening to win its season opener at Felton J. Capel Arena.
The Lady Broncos won the match by scores of 25-21, 25-11, 23-25, 25-20 over the Panthers out of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Fayetteville State (1-0) was led offensively in the opening set by Joylene Thompson (Jr., Spanish Town, JA) and Jessica Hardy (So., Fayetteville, NC) with three kills apiece, while Molly Farrington (Jr., Fayetteville, NC) paved the way with seven assists. The Lady Broncos jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead to start the contest, but Claflin fought back later to lead the first set 9-8. From there Fayetteville State never trailed, but did have to hold off several ties in the set. The Lady Broncos would go ahead 19-18 late in the set before Thompson served three straight points to increase their lead to 22-18.
The Lady Broncos cruised in the second set on offense as they hit .727 as a team and were led on the attack by Joi Emmanuel (Sr., Charlotte, NC) and Ifeyinwa Nwokolo (Sr., Greensboro, NC) with four kills each. Farrington and Paige Horne (Jr., Southern Pines, NC) each dished out six assists. Fayetteville State came out for the second consecutive set and led 5-1 over the Panthers early, but Claflin responded again to take a 6-5 lead after reeling off five points in a row. That would be the only time that the Panthers held a lead in the second set as the Lady Broncos never led by less than five points.
The Panthers would not go quietly as they rallied from a 16-12 deficit midway through the third set and held on to force a fourth set against Fayetteville State. The Lady Broncos opened the third set with a 6-2 advantage, but had five service errors to the Panthers' two despite outhitting them .190 to .189 in the set. Nwokolo led Fayetteville State with four kills and Farrington contributed six assists.
The fourth, and final, set played out in similar fashion to the third as the Lady Broncos had a big early but saw Claflin comeback toward the later stages of the set; only this time Fayetteville State hold off the rally and capture the win in its first game of the season. The Panthers came back from five points down at 16-11 to tie the set 18-18, but then the Lady Broncos scored three straight points off of serves from Thompson. After a service error by Claflin's Chelcey Foster, Fayetteville State netted three more points in a row as this time Emanuel was serving. Nwokolo's five kills led Lady Broncos' offense, and Farrington had six more assists.
Fayetteville State finished the match with a .270 hitting percentage, while the Panthers hit .066 as a team. The Lady Broncos also had 57 total kills, and were led in that category by Nwokolo's 14. Thompson and Emanuel had 11 kills each, and Farrington 25 assists. Horne also had 19 assists for Fayetteville State.
The Lady Broncos will return the court on Monday, Sept. 10 as they open CIAA play at home against Winston-Salem State. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m.