WILBERFORCE — With nearly 1,100 fans screaming in support, the Central State University women’s volleyball team battled hard against a solid Ohio Valley team before falling 25-18, 25-17, 25-18, Sept. 9, in coach Christina Coleman’s home coaching debut.
It’s become a CSU student tradition to pack the Beacom/Lewis Gymnasium for women’s volleyball matches, and set the place abuzz with rowdy chants, loud cheering, and plenty of playful razzing of opposing players.
“I love it,” Ohio Valley coach Marlon Sano said after the match. “How do you not like it? These guys are into it, they’re cheering and screaming. To be honest, our kids got a little rattled by it. They were asking me ‘Hey, is it okay if they yell our names?’ I said ‘Sure!’
“They’re not saying anything derogatory. They’re cheering like crazy. I think they made a big difference for Central State.”
In each set, the two teams would stay within 2-3 points of each other until the Fighting Scots would put together a mini scoring run to pull away to the win.
In the opening set, the teams were tied up at 15-all when Columbian Carolina Ramirez began bashing solid jump serves. A couple CSU miscues, combined with spikes from Ohio Valley’s Taylor Sheppy and a key block from Cincinnatian Haley Fannin, and OV was up 22-16, and eventually took the set 25-18.
Central State battled back from an early second-set deficit with kills by Kayla Adams and Diamond Lester to pull within five points of Ohio Valley, at 14-19, but the Scots Jessica Rafay and Fannin got busy again to out-score CSU 6-2 down the stretch for a 25-17 win.
The Marauders held a 15-14 lead in the third set, but then Ohio Valley took advantage of solid play from another Columbian Yolaine Mosquera Lopez, and solid serves from Fannin to go on an 11-3 scoring run to close out the match.
“We work on it a lot in practices, where we really try to create three- and four-point runs on opponents,” Sano said. “… We weather the storms against us, and we create those opportunities for ourselves, and I think we did a fairly good job of that tonight.”
In the loss, veteran coach Christina Coleman said she can already see the CSU team improving just three games into the 2019 season.
“They’ve grown tremendously over these past three weeks that I’ve really been able to get my hands on them,” Coleman said. “They’re still working, and we’re making great strides and working to clean up some things. But I think they’re doing a great job of buying into my program so far.”
Freshman Lester and senior Deja Clark led CSU in kills with eight each, Clark also led the Marauders in digs with 13, and Kayla Adams dished out 14 assists in the loss.
For Ohio Valley, Rafay led everyone in kills with nine, with Lopez next with eight and three blocks. A third Columbian in the Scots’ lineup — Maria Cordoba — led the team in service aces with six, and Hawaiian senior Kalyn Makimoto had 16 digs.
CSU is now 0-3 this season. According to the team’s schedule, the Marauders are not back in the rowdy Beacom/Lewis Gym until Oct. 2. They are among six Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference teams scheduled to participate in the SIAC West Roundup, Sept, 12-14 in Frankfort, Kentucky, before playing two nonleague games on the road against West Virginia State University and Lake Erie College, then they have a date in Albany, Georgia for an SIAC Crossover tournament before getting back to Beacom/Lewis to host Cincinnati-Clermont.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123. Learn more about the Central State University women’s volleyball program at maraudersports.com .