Nov. 23, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - The Fayetteville State volleyball team finds itself in a couple of familiar places.
First, and most importantly, the Lady Broncos have landed a spot in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Championship match, thanks to a 25-19, 25-14, 25-15 sweep of Chowan University at Felton J. Capel Arena on Saturday morning. FSU will have an opportunity at a repeat title against Winston-Salem State at 4 p.m. The Lady Rams topped Virginia State in the other semifinal.
Secondly, the Lady Broncos once again find themselves able to enjoy a little bit of revenge. Chowan is one of just four conference foes to topple FSU this year. FSU avenged each of those defeats in later meetings.
"I think we were ready and pumped up from last week," said senior Joylene Thompson, referring to the Lady Broncos' dominant run through pool play to get to the conference semifinals. "We were out for revenge because that's the only place we can take it out, on the court."
Freshman Samira Luis didn't play like a typical first-year student-athlete. The outside hitter from Willemstad, Curacao had match-highs of 14 kills and five service aces.
"I was very happy because I gave it all," Luis said. "I want to be a champion. I want to get a ring. I'm very happy for all Bronco fans and my teammate because we got to this point."
The Lady Broncos so thoroughly dominated play that they only trailed once in any set for the entire match. That was a 2-1 deficit in the opening game.
"I think we're peaking at the right time and I think that's helping us win at this competition," FSU coach Reeshemah Johnson said. "We did come out here with a game plan to win in three."
In the opening set, FSU took advantage of a 10-4 rally after that lone deficit to put it in an 11-6 lead and give it a chance to control things early on. The Lady Broncos immediately followed that up with a 6-3 lead to go up eight. The Hawks pulled to within 20-15, but could never get closer than that, allowing FSU to win the all-important opening set.
In set two, the Lady Broncos used a 3-1 lead to take a 7-4 advantage. The Hawks were able to knot things at 7-7, but FSU scored five consecutive points to make it 12-7. After Chowan reducted the gap to 13-9, FSU scored seven of the next nine points to go up 20-11. The Hawks scored the next two points but were not able to overcome the Lady Broncos.
FSU jumped out to a 3-0 lead in set three, then expanded the advantage to 12-8 on a Thompson kill. A JaMisha Jordan ace later in the set made it 14-8. FSU then went on a 7-4 run to go ahead 21-12. Shavon Shaw closed out the match with the final kill a few points later.
Shaw finished with seven kills, while Jordan had 17 digs and Paige Horne had 14 assists. Brianna Smith led Chowan with seven kills. Allison Smith had eight assists to pace the Hawks.
FSU split two matches with Winston-Salem State earlier this year, including a sweep on Oct. 14.
"I think my girls are ready for whatever comes our way this time around," Johnson said.