Pep Rally Honors St. Aug CIAA Championship Volleyball Team Tuesday

Nov. 8, 2011

altThe Saint Augustine's University volleyball team is still savoring its CIAA championship victory.

A pep rally was held Tuesday, November 8 to honor the Lady Falcons, who stunned two-time defending champion Chowan University 3-2 Sunday. The championship is the 18th in school history.

A large crowd circled around the Martin Luther King mall on campus to watch the celebration, which included the cheerleaders and marching band. The volleyball team showed off its championship plaque after they were introduced. Head Coach Nikki Bynum and Athletic Director George Williams spoke during the event and President Dianne Boardley Suber took photos with the team.

Bynum is still trying to grasp the moment. In a span of four days, the Lady Falcons went from almost being eliminated from the CIAA Tournament on the first day to celebrating their title run.

“I am still waiting for somebody to wake me up,” Bynum said.

A first-year university coach, Bynum guided the Lady Falcons to third place in the CIAA Southern Division during the regular season with nine players. The team survived pool play on a tiebreaker which sent them to the semifinals against Winston-Salem State, which beat the Lady Falcons twice during the regular season.

The Lady Falcons turned the tables on the Lady Rams in the semifinals, winning 3-0 in dominating fashion. That set up a showdown against Chowan, the two-time defending champions, in a repeat of last year’s championship match. Down 0-2, the Lady Falcons were facing match point but rallied for the five-set victory.

The Lady Falcons were led by the senior trio of Kathryn Tokarski (Saskatchewan, Canada), Keisha Parris (St. Catherine, Jamaica) and Roxanne Smith (St. Catherine, Jamaica). Parris finished with 20 kills and Tokarski added 15 kills while Smith had 46 assists in the finals. The pep rally was especially satisfying for the three seniors, who had to wait a year to avenge last year’s title loss to Chowan.

“It’s been a rollercoaster ride this season but we showed how much we wanted it in the championship match,” Tokarski said.

The students, faculty and staff showed their appreciation at the pep rally judging from the turnout.

“It is nice to get the support,” Smith said. “This is great.”

The season is not over for the Lady Falcons yet. With the championship win, they gained the automatic berth to the NCAA Division II Tournament. They find out their opponent Sunday during a selection show on ncaa.com.

“The pep rally is additional motivation to go into regionals and do a good job,” Parris said.

Follow Saint Augustine's University athletics on www.saintaugfalcons.com.