Dec. 5, 2013
WHEELING, WV - The Fayetteville State volleyball season came to an end with a three-set loss, 25-11, 25-10, 25-18, to Wheeling Jesuit in the first round of the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Tournament.
The Lady Broncos were eliminated by the host institution for the second consecutive year.
"Coming into the game, we knew this was only our second year here," FSU coach Reeshemah Johnson said. "We were a lot more comfortable coming into the tournament this time. We had to see the No. 1 team and that's always tough going into a tournament".
The host Cardinals played like the Mountain East Conference champions they are, refusing to allow the upset-minded Lady Broncos to make a run.
Afterwards, Johnson was complimentary of her team's opponent yet adamant that the Lady Broncos can compete on this level. She said the goal for future FSU teams is to play tougher competition early to prepare for teams like WJU.
"We can come here and we can perform and we can play as long as we reduce some of the errors we made on our part," Johnson said.
Despite the loss, FSU senior middle hitter Joylene Thompson once again had a stellar offensive performance. She recorded a team-high seven kills on nine total attacks.
The Cardinals scored the match's first four points before FSU was able to respond on a Cardinals error. After a Thompson kill cut the margin to 5-2, WJU reeled off three straight points to stretch the lead up to six. DeQuondra Cuthbertson recorded a kill to make it 8-3, but the Cardinals scored the next six points to get their lead up to double-digits.
The Lady Broncos cut it to 21-10, but the Cardinals scored four of the frame's last five points to take the opening game.
FSU started the second set scoring three of the first five points on kills from Thompson, Shavon Shaw and Jessica Hardy. The FSU lead was 5-3 after a Samira Luis kill before WJU responded with five points in a row to take an 8-5 advantage. The Lady Broncos hung around for a while, trailing 15-9 before WJU made a run. The Cardinals scored the next eight points in a row to grab a 23-9 advantage.
FSU surrendered the first two sets of the final set but responded with four of the next five points to take a 4-3 lead. FSU's lead was 7-6 after a Luis kill. WJU then reeled the next three points to take a 9-7 advantage, but the Lady Broncos tied things up later at 10 apiece.
Unfortunately for the Lady Broncos, WJU made another run, this time an 8-2 spurt to go up 18-12. FSU scored two straight points to draw within four, but couldn't get any closer.