The Claflin University volleyball team battled from two sets down to defeat Benedict College, 3-2, (with set scores of 23-25, 22-25, 25-20, 26-24, 15-12) in a non-conference match in Tullis Arena Tuesday.
The victory gives Claflin interim head coach Chymaine Guinyard her first win as a collegiate coach.
The Lady Panthers are 1-3 on the short season, while Benedict drops to 4-4.
Freshman Briana Reed led three Claflin players with double-digit kills, getting 16. Reed had an all-around solid match, finishing with 11 digs and three block assists for 17.5 points. Freshman Taylor Drayton had 13 kills while junior Jala Roberts finished with 11 kills on the night. Léah Wellington and Vianca Colón Gonzalez shared the setting duties finishing with 21 and 11, respectively.
Sophomore Trinity Fierce finished with 18 digs while freshman Jada Jones came off the bench to pick up 14.
As a team, the Lady Panthers finished the match with 54 kills, six service aces, 89 digs and six team blocks.
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Benedict was led by Adrionna Washington with a match-high 25 kills. Y’Aira Harris had 18 kills and Daija Walton had 10 for the Lady Tigers in the loss.
Claflin started the final set very aggressive, opening with a 5-1 advantage forcing Benedict into its first timeout of the set. The Lady Panthers pushed its lead to 8-1 but the Lady Tigers kept fighting. Benedict used a 5-1 run of their own to cut the deficit to three, 9-6, which forced a Claflin into its timeout.
After the timeout, the Lady Tigers managed to pull within one on two occasions but could not take the lead, eventually falling 15-12 in the final set.
Benedict put down 18 kills in the first set and 15 in the second while holding Claflin to 9 and 8, respectively, en route capturing the first two sets to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
The Lady Panthers remained resilient batting back in the next two sets.
The teams were even over the first 24 points of set three. Claflin used a 4-0 run to jump ahead 16-12 and never looked back. The Lady Panthers would go up by as many as six, 19-13, before winning set three, 25-20.
Set four was perhaps the most competitive, as neither team managed to own more than a three-point lead at any point.
The teams played to extra points before Claflin managed to take the set, 26-24, to force a fifth and deciding set.
Claflin will face Francis Marion on Friday in Florence, before returning home on Saturday, Sept. 28 to host St. Augustine’s University in the Lady Panthers' opener to the 2019 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) season schedule.
Team Notes: Sophomore Sadaiya Edouard was named the CIAA Offensive Player of the Week, Léah Wellington was named the CIAA Setter of the Week and Trinity Fierce was named CIAA Defensive Player of the Week.