UMES LOOKS TO END ROAD TRIP ON A HIGH NOTE AGAINST HOWARD
Oct. 24, 2013
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – Tomorrow (10/25), the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) volleyball team looks to end their six-match road trip on a high note against the Lady Bison of Howard University. Also, this is UMES’ final road match of the season.
“This road trip gave us an opportunity to grow as a team,” said Millicent Van Norden, UMES Volleyball Head Coach. “The ladies faced many challenges and continued to get better and better along the way. I strongly believe this will help us down the stretch."
Last Sunday (10/20), UMES won a thriller over the Hornets of Delaware State, 3-2, as they erased a 2-1 match deficit to come back and win sets four and five. With the win, the Lady Hawks improved to 1-1 in five-set matches, including back-to-back five-set matches against Norfolk State (10/18) and Delaware State (10/20). The last time UMES competed in back-to-back five set matches was last season in the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference (MEAC) Tournament (Nov. 17-18) where the Lady Hawks defeated Hampton and Florida A&M en route to back-to-back MEAC Championships.
Sophomores Diara Lewis (Columbia, SC) and Ashley Smith (Huntley, IL) led the Hawk attack with 13 kills each. Freshman Sonia Rosales (Victorville, CA) continued to provide the team with solid play as she posted another 30+ assist performance (39). Currently, Rosales has recorded 30+ assists in six out of the last seven contests. Defensively, Senior Jingqiao Li (Beijing, China) paced UMES with 17 digs while Junior Aleksandra Manolova (Sofia, Bulgara) tallied 11 digs in the win over the Hornets.
Other notable Hawk performances included Lauren Berry (Bloomington, IL) posting three kills, five blocks, and an assist. Haley Robinson (Honolulu, HI) had eight kills, nine blocks, two digs, an assist, and a .286 hitting percentage. Allison Woods (Magnolia, TX) tallied four digs and a team-high three service aces while Precious Manu (Carson, CA) recorded two kills, eight digs, and an assist in last Sunday’s victory.
The Lady Hawks enter Friday night’s showdown 3-16 overall (2-5 MEAC) and sixth in the MEAC North Division. On the other hand, Howard has accumulated a 16-8 overall record (4-2 MEAC), including last Sunday’s victory over Bethune-Cookman, and sits second in the MEAC North. As of today, only 2.5 games separate the sixth-place Lady Hawks from the second-place Lady Bison.
“It’s a very important match for both teams,” Van Norden added. “For us, a win pulls us closer to one of the top four spots in the division. With only four matches remaining (after Howard), it’s very important to get this one."
To qualify for the MEAC Tournament, only the top four seeds in both divisions, North and South, compete to play in the tournament, which UMES has won the last two seasons (2011 & 2012). At this time, Hampton (North) and Florida A&M (South) remain undefeated in conference play and lead their respective divisions.
On Oct. 4th, Howard defeated UMES, 3-1, and ended the Lady Hawks’ 31 regular-season home-match winning streak, dating back to 2009. In the process, the Lady Bison also ended UMES’ 36 regular-season home-match winning streak against conference foes, dating back to 2006.
In that contest, Smith led the way for the Lady Hawks as she tallied a season-high 20 kills. Rosales also posted a season-high in assists (44) while Li recorded 21 digs in the loss. For the Lady Bison, three players registered 11 kills each. Stephanie Shultis tallied a team-high 41 assists whereas freshman Katherine Broussard recorded a double-double, 11 kills and a team-high 19 digs in the victory.
Since then, Howard is within the top three in all major categories in the conference, including leaders in digs per set (13.73) and opponent hitting percentage (.157). Broussard is among the top-10 in three categories: third in kills per set (3.33); fourth in points per set (3.79); and tenth in service aces per set (0.32). Junior Assata Conway leads the conference in blocks per set (1.00).
For the Lady Hawks, Rosales ranks ninth in the conference averaging 6.10 assists per set. Robinson has registered a .235 hitting percentage, which is eighth-best in the conference. Li remains one of the best diggers as she is third in the MEAC conference, averaging 4.24 digs per set.
After Friday night’s contest, the Lady Hawks are idle Sunday afternoon and return back home on Halloween (Oct. 31) as they face the Lady Bears of Morgan State University. Match time is 7:00 p.m.
For complete recaps, results and news of Hawk athletics, please visit www.umeshawks.com.