The Fayetteville State volleyball team kicks off its 2012 season at home on Wednesday evening with a 6 p.m. contest against the Claflin Panthers at Felton J. Capel Arena. It will also be the season opener for Claflin University.
The Lady Broncos, who are coming off a 20-13 overall record and 13-3 CIAA mark in 2011, are led by fourth-year head coach Reeshemah Johnson. Johnson has led Fayetteville State to winning seasons in each of her first three seasons at the helm of the program, including a CIAA Tournament championship game appearance in 2009 and back-to-back CIAA Tournament semi-finals in 2010 and 2011. She currently holds a 54-30 overall record with the Lady Broncos to go with a 40-9 record in the CIAA.
Fayetteville State returns eight letter winners from last season's squad led by Preseason All-CIAA performers Joi Emmanuel (Sr., Charlotte, NC), JaMisha Jordan (Jr., Fayetteville, NC), Decausha McLean (Jr., Laurinburg, NC) and Ifeyinwa Nwokolo (Sr., Greensboro, NC). The Lady Broncos also welcome six newcomers to the roster this season including Joylene Thompson (Jr., Spanish Town, JA), Taylor Norris (So., Fayetteville, NC), Shavon Shaw (Fr., Bethel, NC), Tevyn Jones (Fr., High Point, NC), Jessica Hardy (So., Fayetteville, NC) and Paige Horne (Jr., Southern Pines, NC).
Emmanuel is the leading returner offensively for Fayetteville State as she tallied 248 kills and 55 digs last season, while Nwokolo recorded 211 kills and 73 digs. Farrington appeared in 23 matches and dished out 36 assists and Jones had 13 kills in 21 matches appeared. Jordan led the Lady Broncos in 2011 with 946 assists.
The Panthers are coached by Vernell Keitt-Capers, who is in her fourteenth season with the program. Claflin is coming off back-to-back SIAC Eastern Division Championships, and return nine total players from last year's squad including six starters. The Panthers also bring in four freshmen this season to go with the nine returnees.
Fayetteville State will return to the volleyball court again on Monday, Sept. 10 as it opens CIAA competition at home with a 6 p.m. contest against the Winston-Salem State Rams. Admission to both Lady Bronco volleyball matches will be free of charge.