HARTSVILLE, S.C. - The Coker College women's volleyball team opened the season without losing a single set as they picked up victories over both Winston-Salem (3-0) and Lees-McRae (3-0) on Friday.
The Cobras showed a perfect balance of youth and experience as freshman and seniors alike shined throughout the double header.
Coker opened the day by defeating Winston-Salem 3-0 (25-17, 25-14, 25-8) behind a terrific performance from freshmen Olivia Cerick. Cerick recorded eight kills and 11 digs in her first collegiate match. Preseason All-SAC selection, Taylor du Bray made her presence felt with seven kills and 10 assists, and freshman Rami Mullen chipped in 28 assists and nine digs.
The Cobras jumped out to an early 12-6 lead in the first set thanks to a great run of serves by Samantha Ojeda. Ojeda helped Coker notch three straight points to take control of the set. The Rams would eventually cut the lead to 16-12, but the Cobras answered with a 9-5 run to close out the set.
After a close start to the second set, the Cobras used a 10-3 run fueled by back-to-back aces from Cerick to push the lead as high as 20-10. Coker would eventually finish off the set 25-14.
The third and final set was all Coker from beginning to end. Lana Strejcek recorded three straight aces, and the Cobras enjoyed a 14-4 run to bury the Rams.
Coker ended the day by also shutting out the Lees-McRae Bobcats 3-0 (25-13, 25-19, 25-21). Senior Cayley Gunter led the way with 11 kills, and 10 digs while freshman Emily Everton notched seven digs. Rami Mullen had another big performance with 26 assists and seven digs.
Kara Overholt helped the Cobras jump out to an early lead in the first set with an early run of serves that stretched the lead from 3-2 to 9-2. Coker led by as much as 22-8 before a late run by the Bobcats would push the final to score to 25-13.
The second set was the most competitive of the evening for Coker. The Bobcats held an early 6-5 lead, and then trailed by just one point midway through the set before the Cobras were finally able to get gain separation. A series of kills by Olivia Veith and Gunter pushed the lead to 19-12, and the Cobras eventually finished off the set 25-19.
Lees-McRae jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the third set, but a five-point serve by Cerick helped the Cobras regain the advantage. Both teams battled throughout the set with the Bobcats eventually cutting the lead to 17-16 before Coker used an 8-5 run to end the set and secure the victory.
The Cobras will be back in action on Saturday with another double header when they take on Indianapolis at 1 pm and UNC Pembroke at 7 pm. Tickets for each match are $5 for adults, $3 for students and free to all Coker faculty, staff and students. Live stats and video can be found at www.cokercobras.com.
McDonald's Player of the Game: Olivia Cerick