Hawks earn breakthrough achievement, defeat Bison
Mere Serea (airborne in the center) contributed six total blocks and added four kills as the Hawks overcame the Bison's challenge in five sets
Sept. 29, 2017

Final Stats

PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland — Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) play got off to a great start for Maryland Eastern Shore volleyball on Friday (Sept. 29). The Hawks fended off a strong comeback challenge for the defending champion Howard Bison to earn a 3-2 statement win (29-27, 25-24, 13-25, 15-25, 15-11) at the William P. Hytche Athletic Center.

With the victory the Hawks improve to 14-5 (1-0 MEAC) for the season. The Shore also earned its first win over Howard since October 26, 2012.

Three Hawks attained double-doubles during the match. Junior Carolina Machado (São Paulo, Brazil) led in assists with 20 while earning ten digs. Sophomore Iva Vujosevic (Bar, Montenegro) tallied a team high 14 kills and delivered 19 digs, while junior Lucia Babic (Sisak, Croatia) earned 12 kills and ten digs.

On the block graduate student Mere Serea (Suva, Fiji) earned six (one solo), participating on two-thirds of the team’s total. Babic added four block assists and senior Alana Polk (Houston, Texas) contributed a solo block with two assists. Junior Maja Jankovic (Ruma, Serbia) was also a presence on defense with 20 digs, tying a match high.


 

 

Several players also provided pivotal roles coming off the bench. Sophomore Ivana Blazevic (Zagreb, Croatia) backed up Machado’s effort with 12 assists, along with three kills. Freshman Sola Okesanjo (Chicago, Illinois) was a perfect 2-for-2 on kills, and fellow freshman Eva Valentova (Ceske, Czech Republic) supplied six digs and played a crucial role in the fifth set.

Although defeated, Howard did hold the advantage in the stat sheet, outhitting the Hawks 54 kills to 50, while also completing six more blocks, four more assists, and three more digs.

The first two sets were battled fiercely, with the Hawks overcoming an early deficit in set one with a 7-0 run with Babic on serves. It was a brief advantage as Howard battled back. Extra play would be needed to settle the first score, and kills by Vujosevic and junior Rachel Kayongo (Northridge, California) gave The Shore the upper hand. An attack error by the Bison gave the set to the Hawks, 29-27.

A 2-0 set lead also required another comeback, as Howard once again led early. The momentum shifted in the midway point of the set as the Bison committed a trio of attack miscues and a service error. That lead was enough for the Hawks to hang on, using a block by Serea and Babic to win by two.

Undeterred by Maryland Eastern Shore’s lead, Howard proceeded to rally from behind, and they showed that the two-time defending MEAC champions would not be defeated so easily. The Bison won the third set by 12, building a 14-2 and not looking back. Set four was more of the same as Howard built a 10-4 lead on the way to a ten point win and drawing the match level.

To overcome its eight game losing streak the Hawks would need a spark to ignite them in the fifth set. Enter Valentova, who was charged with the team’s first service. A Vujosevic kill and two Hawk blocks forced an early Howard timeout. The Bison would win the next point, but the opening rally set the tone as the Hawks rode the lead up to 9-4.

It was here that Howard made one last effort. Using a pair of kills and a couple Hawk miscues the Bison stormed back yet again with a 6-1 run to pull even at ten apiece. When Babic got a kill to break the tie, she gave the serve back to Valentova, and the Bison sent their next attack out of bounds. Howard would not get any closer as the Hawks won the final set by four to claim victory.

The Hawks battle VCU in a non-conference road game Tuesday before returning home to face Norfolk State and Hampton in MEAC play on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

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