MEISENHEIMER, N.C. – Erika Woodard finished with 12 kills on 21 total attacks and Emelia Fetch added 11 digs to help push West Virginia State past Brevard by scores of 25-22, 25-17, 25-16 in the Tornados' season opener on Saturday evening at the Pfeiffer University tournament.
The Tornados (0-1) were led on offense by the combination of Rachel Ruble (seven kills), Stephanie Lambert (six), Hannah Elmore (five) and Whitney DeMoss (five). Josie McElroy quarterbacked the BC offense to 19 assists. Meanwhile, the BC defense emerged with 38 digs, highlighted by Maggie Weiss' 11 digs and Lamberts two assisted blocks.
Joining Woodard among West Virginia State's offensive leaders were Mallory Rennard (seven kills) and Edwina Bennett (five). That trio, along with Tabi Pontious who finished with a team-high 15 assists, helped lead the Yellow Jacket offense to 38 kills on 91 attacks (.297 attack percentage).
Two service aces by Kathryn Beasley combined with a kill by Elmore helped provide the Tornados with a 6-3 advantage in the early stages of the first set. West Virginia State scored 10 of the next 14 points to move in front 13-10, however the combination of a kill by Hannah Jenkins and service aces by Weiss managed to knot the contest at 15.
With the two teams deadlocked at 17-all, Woodard drove a kill past the Tornado defense to give West Virginia State a lead it would not relinquish. The Yellow Jackets received one kill and one service ace down the stretch from both Pontious and Bennett to complete the three-point win.
Using two kills from DeMoss and a strike by Elmore, the Tornados established a 6-3 advantage to open the second set. West Virginia State retaliated with strikes by Edwina Bennett and Mallory Rennard to pull even at 12.
The two teams played to a 15-15 tie to open the second set before an unforced error by Brevard opened the door for the Yellow Jackets. With Allison Tumey in serve, West Virginia State scored six of the next seven points to move in front 21-16. Despite a kill by Lambert down the stretch, Brevard was unable to pull closer than five as the Yellow Jackets closed out the eight-point victory.
The Brevard offense managed three kills in its first six points of the third set, but the Yellow Jackets defense held strong as it assumed a 15-9 edge midway through. Two kills from DeMoss, coupled with a strike by Lambert, kept the Tornados within striking distance at 20-12.
Timely kills from Woodard and Rennard along with a service ace by Emelia Fetch helped provide the difference for West Virginia State, which completed the nine-point win.
The Tornados return to action on Sunday, August 3 when they complete the Pfeiffer University tournament against Virginia Union (11 a.m.) and Pfeiffer (3 p.m.).