By Tyler Wahl
The Rams Volleyball team pulled out a 3-0 win against the Salem State Vikings in an important MASCAC
Quarterfinal game Nov. 10.
Following a hard 3-0 loss to the Worcester State Lancers Oct. 30, the team looked to build their momentum for the playoffs in this match.
The Athletic Center gymnasium was packed with spectators, and the Rams’ energy showed their clear anticipation for their first postseason game.
Both teams showed a lot of fight in the first set, with the lead constantly changing at the start of the game.
The back-and-forth scoring was eventually stopped, as the Rams went on to take eight straight points and a dominating 20-10 lead.
Sophomore Hailey Sanders finished the Vikings off with an impressive strike, making the final score of the first set 25-12.
In the second set, the Vikings kept the score closer, starting the set off with constant lead changes once again. Although Salem State’s effort was admirable, it was no match for the Rams’ team communication and solid individual play.
Sophomore Emily Flaherty had some great serves, which gained the Rams points in the second set, and was a clear motivator for the rest of her team.
After the game, she praised her teammates despite her great individual performance, saying, “I feel really good about our team. We have a lot of young players ... but we have so much heart and I think that sets us apart in tough matches.”
The Rams and the Vikings fought hard throughout the second set, diving for every loose ball that came their way.
FSU continued to stay ahead. Despite a timeout from Salem at the 19-16 mark, the Rams finished off the Vikings 25-17 in set two.
The Rams came out confident as ever after winning the first two sets, and put four easy points on the board to start the third set.
Maintaining their momentum, the Rams pushed forward with great kills from freshman Valerie Sullivan and equally as exceptional aces from junior Brandee Thomas.
After those plays, FSU acquired a 19-11 lead, forcing the Vikings to take a much-needed timeout.
Although the timeout resulted in a few bounceback points for Salem State, the Rams continued their dominance, finishing the set 25-15.
Sanders and Sullivan both added nine kills before the game was finished, while Flaherty contributed nine digs in this important playoff win.
Winning this game means the FSU Volleyball team will advance to the MASCAC Semifinals.
Flaherty said, “I’m so excited for the Semifinal game, and I know that everyone on the team wants it so badly. If we play with heart, everything will be fine.”
Assistant Coach Brian Gerard expressed admiration for the team as well, saying, “It’s all on the players – they’re the ones that have to do it, and we’re very proud of them.”
The Rams look to continue their playoff push in their important Semifinal game against Westfield State Nov. 4.