DAYTONA BEACH, FL – In a highly competitive back and forth match Friday afternoon, the Shaw University women's volleyball team came up just short in a 3-2 loss to Valdosta State in the opening day of the Embry-Riddle Tournament. The Lady Bears won the first set 25-16, before falling 25-16 and 25-20 in sets two and three. Shaw forced a fifth set with a 25-17 win in the fourth but were unable to win the 15-12 final set.


For the contest, the Lady Bears tallied more kills than of their opponent at 45 on just .96 hitting percentage but were responsible for 31 total errors while Valdosta State accounted for 23.


Shaw (0-1) had two players finish in double figure kills led by senior Saraya Klink (Fuquay-Varina, NC) who had a match-high 11 kills to go along with four service aces and three blocks. Senior Keveesha Wattley (St. Croix, VI) recorded 10 kills, six blocks and three digs while senior Michelle Olmeda-Gonzalez (San Juan, PR) handed out 27 assists and collected 17 digs. Both senior Kelly Murphy (Mukwonago, WI) and junior Jailynn Butler (Parker, AZ) grabbed 16 digs in the loss.


The Lady Bears opened up the match with a 3-0 lead thanks to a kill from Butler and Wattley followed by a Blazer miscue. VSU (1-0) kept within reach as the first set would tie at 11-11 but Shaw created separation by scoring seven unanswered points to take an 18-11 lead before claiming a 25-16 set win after scoring two-straight.  


The second set started merely the same as the first as the Lady Bears took a 3-1 lead. A couple of errors by Shaw allowed VSU to take their first lead of the contest at 10-9. From there, the Lady Bears played from behind the remainder of the set as they made strides to close the gap but too many errors prevented Shaw from taking back control as they folded in the 25-16 setback.


The Lady Bears clawed back in the third set after falling behind 7-3. Shaw managed to tie the set at 8-8 before going on a 4-0 run to lead 12-8. The Lady Bears held control and maintained a lead of as large as eight points but Valdosta State was able to trim at the deficit after three miscues of Shaw as well as three kills from the Blazers that led to the Lady Bears calling a timeout with the scored notched at 19-even. Out of the break, Valdosta State put together a 6-1 spurt to win 25-20 over Shaw.


In the fourth set, Shaw led 8-3 over the Blazers capped off by a service ace for Murphy. The Lady Bears would control the pace throughout the set despite VSU's efforts of closing the gap to two points but Shaw orchestrated 10-3 spread to down the stretch to force the match to a fifth set with a  25-17 win.


With a 7-3 deficit in the fifth set, Shaw then fought back to pull within one three times but a kill from Kayla Widera and then an attacking error by Shaw gave Valdosta State the 15-12 advantage and match win.


Shaw will look to recover with a 7 p.m. match against Embry-Riddle this evening. Live stats and video will be available.


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