Furman makes top 10
GREENVILLE -- Furman has entered poll territory it hasn’t been in for well over a decade, rising to eighth in this week’s AFCA Coaches Poll.
The Paladins (4-2, 3-0 SoCon), idle on Saturday but winners of three straight and all alone in first place in the Southern Conference, registered 467 points to check in at eighth, 13 points behind No. 7 Villanova. The No. 8 ranking its the highest for Furman since the Paladins polled seventh at the conclusion of the 2006 regular season.
Reigning national champion North Dakota State remained No. 1 in the poll followed by James Madison, South Dakota State, Kennesaw State, and Weber State, which round out the Top 5.
The Paladins return to action Saturday when they play host The Citadel (3-4, 1-2 SoCon) at 1 p.m.
MEAC leader North Carolina A&T rose from 14th to 11th in the poll.
Claflin to hold Midnight Madness
The Claflin University Department of Athletics will hold Midnight Madness signifying the start of the 2019-20 basketball seasons at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at Tullis Arena in the Jonas T. Kennedy Health & Wellness Center.
This will be the introduction of the men’s and women’s teams along with the Claflin University cheerleaders to the student body and community.
The event will include music, games and giveaways as well as a 3-point contest featuring Claflin University President Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack. Additional activities include a hot spot contest and dance contest.
Claflin falls in volleyball
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Claflin University volleyball team fought from 2-1 down but came up just short, falling to Johnson C. Smith University, 2-3 (15-25, 125-19, 22-25, 25-23, 13-15), in a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Southern Division Saturday.
With the loss, the Lady Panthers fell to 4-8 overall and 3-4 in the CIAA (1-4 Southern Division). Johnson C. Smith improved to 4-6 overall, 3-4 in the CIAA and 2-2 in the Southern Division.
After scoring just 15 points in the first set, Claflin bounced back in the second, defeating Johnson C. Smith 25-19 to tie the match 1-1.
After the Golden Bulls gained control of the match by winning set two 25-22 to go up 2-1, the Lady Panthers evened the match once again. Claflin took a 25-23 set four win to force a fifth and deciding set.
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Johnson C. Smith jumped out to a 5-3 lead in the final set but the Lady Panthers remained resilient scoring two straight points to pull the set even at 5-all. The teams then exchanged the lead through the eight exchanges.
After calling its first timeout of the set with the score tied 9-9, Claflin scored the next three-of-four points to go ahead 12-10 but the Golden Bulls offense would not be outdone.
Johnson C. Smith scored the set’s final five-of-six points to take the 15-13 set five win and the match 3-2.
Claflin finished the match with 51 kills with Briana Reed accounting for a match-high 18. Erin Preston, Jala Roberts, and Taylor Drayton all put down eight apiece.
The Lady Panthers had three players to finish with double-digit digs led by Jada Jones who finished with a season-high 20. Trinity Fierce added 13 and Angel Johnson picked up 10 in the match.
The offense was run by Leah Wellington who had 26 set assists in the loss.
Johnson C. Smith, which finished with 63 kills, was led by Elyse Bonnett and Brianne Davis with 14. The Golden Bulls had four players to finish with double-digit kills as Taylor Smith had 13 and Gabrielle Wells put down 10.
Cydney Calhoun put up a match-high 48 set assists while Joi Haywood picked up a match-high 22 digs to lead the team defensively.
The Lady Panthers will return to the confines of the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Center (Tullis Arena) to face Shaw University on Wednesday at 6 p.m. It will be Dig Pink Night. Fans are asked to wear pink in support of the fight against breast cancer.
Claflin cross country has solid showing
SALISBURY, N.C. – The Claflin University men’s and women’s cross-country teams had a solid showing in the Livingstone XC Invitational Oct. 11. The meet was the final regular season one before the 2019 CIAA Championships Oct. 24 in Salem, Va.
The Claflin men, who finished seventh overall in the 8k, were led by Domenic Samuel finishing eighth in a time of 29:13.9. Caleb Patterson clocked a 32:46.9 and Derick St. Jean finished in a time of 38:06.5 to close out the top three finishers for the Panthers. Tré Jeter (38:57.5) and LaCarlos Watlington (39:39.9) rounded out the competitors for the Claflin.
Esther Chukwunike led the Lady Panthers, who finished 11th overall, clocking a 24:34.4 in the 5k to finish in the top 30. Nytajah Smalls finished in a time of 28:48.0 while Alexus Edmond crossed the finish line in a time of 31:05.3. Destiny Hall (32:04.4) and Kiara Belton (32:10.6), were the fourth and fifth Lady Panthers finishers.
The Claflin men will be looking to improve on their seventh-place finish from a year ago, while the women will be looking to finish higher than their 11th in last season’s championships.