The Howard University women’s volleyball team is looking to build on their 8-7 record with a stretch of exciting matchups at Burr Gymnasium. They play at home in four of their next six games after being on the road for most of the season. Howard has a 5-2 record over its previous seven matchups, giving themselves a winning record at the midway point of the season.
The Bison recently prevailed against the Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks (3-12) in a 3-1 defeat. Howard dominated the Hawks in aces and blocks. Freshman outside hitter Rya McKinnon, a two-time MEAC Rookie of the Week this season, spoke about how the team can build upon the win against the Hawks.
“Solid serve receive and serving,” McKinnon said. “I feel like our serve relief has been great the past few weeks. It is very important in the game and can help us win points, but it is something that every team can improve on.”
Howard used this momentum in their 3-0 win against the Morgan State Bears (2-16). The Bison outplayed their opponent in every statistical category. Senior setter Kayla Diaz logged 21 assists, six digs and one block assist.
Howard will proceed to face the Coppin State Eagles (12-7) on Oct. 9. Coppin State is currently No. 2 in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and undefeated in games against conference opponents.
Last season, the Bison were the MEAC champions and finished with a 18-13 record. Many pinned them as the favorite to repeat this year, so their 8-7 record and third place ranking in the MEAC has shocked many volleyball fans. When asked how the Bison can get back some of the momentum from last year, McKinnon said, “I think watching film and following our game plan will help a lot.”
The freshman hitter believes the upperclassman’s MEAC experience will play a big role in Howard getting to that form.
“Most of the players on our team have played the teams in our conference before,” McKinnon said. “Using their past knowledge and experience playing against them will be useful.”
This upcoming stretch of games is going to be very important for the team. Wins against conference opponents will help to improve their record in MEAC play. They are currently 2-1 with wins against Maryland Eastern Shore and Morgan State, and one loss against the Delaware State Hornets (12-4). The Bison hope to improve to 3-1 in conference play against Coppin State to build on their MEAC record and move up in overall ranking.
It has been a rollercoaster season for the Bison so far, leading them to have a fairly even 8-7 record. Howard hopes this stretch can help the team re-establish the form that led them to the MEAC Championship. This team has the talent that will allow them to accomplish similar goals, as long as they continue to take it one game at a time.
Copy edited by Jadyn Barnett