By Kayla Berns, Staff Writer
The No. 24 ranked Armstrong State University Volleyball team travelled to No. 12 ranked Wingate University on Saturday to take on the bulldogs in a pair of matches, the first time in 26 years the Pirates have played the same opponent twice in one day. Although they split the contests, the Pirates played well and paced themselves for another successful season.
Wingate packed the arena and played hard, but it was not enough to defeat the Pirates. Armstrong set the tone early, winning the first set with score of 25-17. Sophomore right-side hitter, Emily Wiley led the team with 20 kills in the first match.
Wingate put up a fight in each set and gave the Pirates no room for error tying the score in set 2 at 25-25. Stephanie Sfara, senior outside hitter, ended the game with a kill.
“It felt great to make that play for my team, but I had to remain focused because I knew that with a team like Wingate anything could happen and we needed to focus on every point,” Sfara said.
Sfara was right in knowing that Wingate would strike back in any moment taking the third and fourth sets from the Pirates with winning scores 25-18 and 21-18.
The fifth set proved to be the most intense game of all, with Armstrong pulling through for the 15-13 win. Wiley sealed the victory for the Pirates with a strong spike down the line.
Senior setter Kamryn Sherman said, “The win was awesome and set the bar for the rest of our season because we know what we are capable of accomplishing”.
In the second match of the day Wingate came out looking to avenge their loss. Shelly Stumpff, Wingate right-side hitter, collected 13 kills and proved unstoppable for the Pirates. The Bulldogs won in three sets with the following scores 25-21, 25-21, and 25-23. Although Armstrong played well and were only a few points away each game, in the end the Bulldogs took the match.
Each team left Saturday with their first loss of the season, leaving the Armstrong Pirates 5-1 and the Wingate Bulldogs 7-1.
The Pirates will travel to Augusta on Friday, September 19th, to play their first Peach Belt Conference play of the season against GRU Augusta. Each team left Saturday with their first loss of the season, leaving the Armstrong Pirates 5-1 and the Wingate bulldogs 7-1.