Morgan State quickly ousted by USC in volleyball playoffs But Lady Bears take pride in distance they've come

December 06, 1997|By Bryan Rodgers | Bryan Rodgers,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

LOS ANGELES -- Morgan State's improbable run to the NCAA Division I women's volleyball championships ended last night as the Lady Bears were defeated by Southern California, 15-2, 15-7, 15-7, in a match at the Lyons Center.

Morgan State's appearance in the playoffs was brief, with the match lasting only 58 minutes. It was filled with unforced errors.

But the fact that Morgan State (25-10) even qualified for the postseason was an impressive achievement.

Morgan State became the first historically black university to gain a spot in the Division I volleyball field.

It was also the first team from Morgan State to participate in an NCAA Division I playoff in any sport.

The Lady Bears, however, didn't play like trendsetters in their first match.

They were called for several net violations, cited for being out of ,, rotation and produced three net serves.

"That killed us tonight," Morgan State coach Ramona Riley nTC Bozier said. "Some of it was because our team was nervous."

But in the second game, Morgan State showed the form that helped it capture the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title with a 10-0 record.

L The Lady Bears took a 5-0 lead over USC before losing, 15-7.

"I think that we kind of shocked them when we took the lead," senior outside hitter Jakaria Stewart said.

USC (22-5) is ranked No. 7 in the country, according to the latest USA Today poll. The Trojans will face the University of San Diego in a second-round match tonight.

After trailing 11-3 in the third game, Morgan State tried to rally.

Lamar-Renee Bryant served three points for the Lady Bears, who managed to close the gap to 11-6.

USC, however recorded a spike for a sideout and Jennifer Kessy proceeded to match Bryant's feat by serving for three points for the Trojans.

USC clinched the victory when Kashi Cormier drove a hard spike off a wall of Morgan State blockers.

Morgan State was unable to get its offense started because it couldn't establish the pass, Riley Bozier said.

"Early on, they got some stuff blocks against us," Bozier said. "That forced to us to abandon our offense. Tonight, as a whole, we didn't pass well."

Even though her team had been ousted from the playoffs, Stewart was happy.

"Yeah, I'm disappointed we lost, but we made it here. We are the first black college to get this far.

"I'm not going to be here next season. It sets a good pace for the program."

Pub Date: 12/06/97

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