Oct. 28, 2011
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - The Fayetteville State Lady Broncos began the 2011 season with two goals.
On Friday night, they accomplished the first of them.
Fayetteville State clinched the CIAA Southern Division championship after cruising past Johnson C. Smith in straight sets in the regular season finale at Felton J. Capel Arena.
"It was something in our mind at the beginning of the season - to win the division championship," said Lady Broncos coach Reeshemah Johnson. "Our second goal was to win the CIAA championship. We've achieved the first goal, now we have to push forward to the big dance."
Fayetteville State (18-12, 13-3, 9-1), which entered the match tied in the division standings with rival Winston-Salem State, will finish the regular season as the champion no matter what the Lady Rams do in their final match. The Lady Broncos hold a tiebreaker - the two teams split their regular season meetings - by virtue of winning five sets against Winston-Salem State to the Lady Rams' three set wins.
The Lady Broncos had no trouble clinching the division title, getting little resistance from Johnson C. Smith (4-24, 2-12). Fayetteville State prevailed by the scores of 25-16, 25-13 and 25-12.
Joi Emanuel (Jr., Charlotte, N.C.) led all players with 14 kills in the match to go with two service aces and three blocks, also a match-high. Octavia Wynn (Jr., Hope Mills, N.C.) and Ifeyinwa Nwokolo (Jr., Greensboro, N.C.) each added seven kills while JaMisha Jordan (So., Fayetteville, N.C.) led all players with 31 assists while Molly Farrington (So., Fayetteville, N.C.) chipped in five assists.
Fayetteville State's lone senior player, Jasmine Stewart, a Second-Team All-CIAA selection a year ago, tallied five kills in her final home match. The Lady Broncos, one of the top serving teams in the country, finished with 11 aces. Decausha McLean (Fr., Laurinburg, N.C.) had three aces.
Amber Alexander and Elana Foster led the Lady Golden Bulls with four kills apiece while Kayla Bazemore added seven assists. Teyonna Gore and Jennifer Williams each had seven digs.
Fayetteville State, which has won four straight matches, will now set its sights on the CIAA Tournament, which begins in Hampton, Va., next Friday.
"I feel like we're lot more relaxed," Johnson said. "We've improved in a number of areas, and if everybody shows up and plays up to their potential, then I think we really and truly have a chance at the title."
Fayetteville State will find out its opening opponent in pool play next week.