After giving up a 25-22 game loss and a 7-1 second game deficit to visiting Bluefield State College, Virginia Union University’s volleyball team turned into an engine firing on all six cylinders and led by a 5’4” sparkplug named Amilex Lopez-Ayala to down the Big Blue 22-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-17 in VUU’s season opener on Friday, September 10, in Barco-Stevens Hall. “The team really came together after that first game,” said VUU Head Volleyball Coach Janae Robinson. “They just had to realize that they couldn’t play another team’s game and just play our game. That worked to our advantage.”
Lopez-Ayala, a senior transfer from Aguirre, Puerto Rico, majoring in Secondary Education, finished the match with 16 kills, 23 defensive digs and five service aces. “Amilex is one of my favorite players,” said Robinson. “She’s one of our captains here as well. She’s great at communication and brings the energy that the girls need. Other teams aren’t expecting someone who’s 5-4 to hit the ball 90 miles per hour, but she does.”
“I was not nervous at all,” said Lopez-Ayala. “I was just trying to keep it low and go all in. I was talking to our trainer before the game, and he told me that if I had a goal that I should go for it. I was hoping to get at least 10 kills, so for me it’s an achievement knowing that I actually had 16 kills. That makes me really happy and excited.” Virginia Union’s Maysun Creery, a senior from Richmond, Va., with a double major in Math and Chemistry, led the Lady Panthers with 24 digs.
“I have to give credit to my team,” said Creery. “You can’t pass the ball if the blocks aren’t there. It’s all due to the front row. It’s a team effort.” Virginia Union’s Denise Burk, a sophomore from Youngsville, N.C., majoring in Health Sciences, led VUU with 35 assists while teammate Jade Lane, a sophomore from Lynchburg, Va., majoring in Mass Communications, led the team with five blocks. Virginia Union, 1-0, now travels to Staunton, Va., to face Mary Baldwin University at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 18.