Bison Capture First Win of 2011 Season
By Jasmine King, Volleyball, Public Relations Major '13
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Howard Volleyball (1-8) captures their first team win of the season against the Princeton Tigers (4-2) in the opener of the Rutgers Invitational.
Set scores in the match against the Tigers were 25-19, 23-25, 25-22, 25-17. The Lady Bison fell short the second set. "We were hanging with them, we just made crucial mistakes," says outside hitter Tosin Elebute who led both teams in scoring with a total of 18 kills.
The Lady Bison were high off team momentum. The gym was heated with focus and execution through each point rallied by the two teams. The Lady Bison competed, innovated and dominated.
"Today Howard played ten players in this tournament and I felt we started off slow, but once we got our groove and momentum we were unstoppable," says head coach Dawn Barnes. "I am happy with our improvement throughout the match; though our defense improved we had opportunities to gain more offensive points."
Collectively, the team finished with 46 kills, 44 assists, 11 service aces, 55 digs and 14 blocks. Riana Cain had a game high of 20 digs. "Even though this has been my biggest game yet, there is still work to get done to beat this game," says the sophomore libero.
"We've spent the last three weeks tweaking with the lineup trying to find the best combination of team chemistry," Barnes added. "Princeston did a great job getting balls up, playing defense and continuing rallies. I'm proud of my girls for not making a lot of unforced errors which eventually wore Princeston down. We out blocked our opponent, which was huge for us. We have played teams that have had better defense than us, but today sophomore libero Riana Cain stepped up and produced for us."
Junior setter Jasmine King and freshman setter Stephanie "Teppi" Shultis were shy of a double double - King, recording 23 assists and nine digs, and Shultis tallying 18 assists, nine kills and nine digs. Taylor Johnson chipped in with nine kills, two service aces and two major solo blocks. Gabrielle Martin put down five balls for the team.
"I am pleased with the performances of senior MB Taylor Johnson and Gabrielle Martin for their soild blocking at the net. I am very pleased with the consistant play of freshmen Meagan Lagerlef and Kelley Butler," says Barnes.
For Princeton, Sarah Hanna led the Tigers offensively with 16 kills, aided by setter Michaela Venuti with 22 assists. Hilary Ford led her team defensively with 17 digs.
Next up, the Lady Bison take on hosts Rutgers in the first matchup, and Binghamton later on in the day.