The Claflin University volleyball team suffered a heart-breaking 3-2 (17-25, 17-25, 25-21, 27-25, 7-15) loss to Clark Atlanta University in a Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Eastern Division match Friday at Tullis Arena.
The tough loss dropped Claflin to 5-15 on the season and 5-7 in the SIAC, while Clark Atlanta improved to 10-10 overall and 8-3 in the SIAC in the league.
The Lady Panthers dropped the first and second sets of the match by identical scores, 25-17. Claflin remained poised, winning the next two sets, to force a fifth and deciding set.
In the third set, Clark Atlanta scored the opening point of the set for its only lead. After breaking a 2-2 tie, the Lady Panthers led the rest of the way. Claflin scored eight of the next 11 points for at 10-5 lead. Clark Atlanta closed the gap to 23-21 by outscoring the Lady Panthers 16-13. Clark Atlanta's rally would end there as Claflin scored the next two points to end the set at 25-21.
In the fourth set, Clark Atlanta held the lead until Claflin pulled even at 19-19. The contest would go back and forth until the Lady Panthers broke a 25-25 tie by scoring the last two points of the set. Claflin won the hard-fought set 27-25.
The stage was set for the final set. In the set, Clark Atlanta jumped out to a quick 5-2 lead. The visitors would rack up 10 of the last 13 points en route to the 15-5 victory.
Diara Lewis led Claflin with 15 kills, followed by Jordan Wallace with 11 kills and three aces. Chania Rispress recorded 37 assists to go with eight digs for the Lady Panthers.
Jhi Piper-Murles contributed 10 digs, while Jamie Dobson posted five blocks (1 solo-4 assists) for Claflin.
As a team, the Lady Panthers recorded 47 kills, 12 aces and 44 digs.
Ashley Elmore was the top player for Clark Atlanta with 18 kills. Siera Nelson had 45 assists, while Breanna Thompson produced 16 digs for Clark Atlanta.
Claflin will return to action Monday, taking on Fort Valley State at 6 p.m. at Tullis Arena. It will be the Lady Panthers' annual Dig Pink Game. Fans are encouraged to wear pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness.