Howard volleyball extended their win streak at home in Burr Gymnasium, defeating the South Carolina State Bulldogs. This match, known as the “Pink Game” honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month, marked the Lady Bison sixth conference game this season.
When asked by The Hilltop about the difference in preparation for this game compared to other games this season, sophomore middle blocker Cimone Woodard responded by saying, “To prepare for the Pink Game we watched film on South Carolina State and we really were focused on what we can control and I think that pretty much helped us beat them pretty handily.”
The Howard Lady Bison started the game off fairly strong, establishing their lead with a 5-1 advantage as a twelve-point serving streak was executed by freshman libero Claire Simpson. South Carolina State struggled to obtain any of the serves executed by the Bison. This allowed the Lady Bison to take control of the game early offensively as they received numerous free balls on the court.
As the match continued, the Bison showed up strong offensively as senior middle blocker Tamar Wells executed four kills allowing herself to reach a hitting percentage of 1.000. The Lady Bison finished the first set winning 25-8 as the South Carolina State Bulldogs struggled to receive any of the Bison serves as well as the attacks executed by the Lady Bison.
When asked by The Hilltop about the team’s motivation encouraging a win streak so far this season, sophomore middle blocker Cimone Woodard responded by saying, “To keep each other motivated we’ve really been encouraging each other every time anyone does something good to make them keep on doing it again.”
A message from Coach Kupferberg was also expressed as a part of the team’s motivation encouraging the Lady Bison win streak. According to Cimone Woodard, Kupferberg instructed the team, “to step on their necks and choke them out.” Cimone continued to say, “And although it sounds really graphic it actually really helps us to remember that no matter how much we’re up or no matter what’s going on we always have to keep fighting or give our best fight until the game is over because they can come back at any time.”
The second set started with a new lineup put together by Coach Kupferberg. Senior outside hitter Alex Smith and freshman setter Leah Reeves, who executed a hitting percentage of 0.652, led the new lineup. The South Carolina State Bulldogs fought back having disjointed defense and executed a couple of solidified serves. However, the Lady Bison finished this set executing a hitting percentage of 0.312 while South Carolina State only executed a hitting percentage of -0.062.
When the third set started, the Bison suffered from mistakes on the serving end as well as straight attacks from the South Carolina State Bulldogs. This allowed South Carolina State to gain a 5-2 advantage. Howard rapidly responded to the Bulldogs as the Lady Bison were able to execute a six-point run while Leah Reeves was able to hold onto the ball at the serving line.
The Lady Bison continued with an aggressive offensive front allowing the continuation of struggles for South Carolina State. The Bison finished the third set with junior outside hitter Kendall Smith executing a kill for the set win. The Bison won this match as sophomore outside Dami Awojobi executed six kills and freshman setter Leah Reeves was able to execute twelve assists helping freshman libero Claire Simpon to have seven digs. Howard volleyball was able to end this match with a hitting percentage of 0.408.
Howard volleyball was very motivated and ready to expand their win streak as they traveled to Dover, Delaware on Thursday Oct. 20 to take on the Delaware State Hornets, winning 3-2. When asked by The Hilltop about the preparation going into Thursday’s game, sophomore middle blocker Cimone Woodard responded by saying, “This week we are definitely focusing on blocking all of Del State’s weaknesses. We have been focusing on blocking line and defending line and practicing against a faster game because we really want to beat them, and we know how they play.”
That game marked the seventh conference game of the season and was played during Howard University’s Homecoming week. In her closing statements with The Hilltop, Cimone Woodard was able to express her excitement about Homecoming.
Cimone responded by saying, “The atmosphere at Bison Night was really amazing. It was really similar to all of the other nights, and I really love how we were really able to honor the professors that make such a big difference in all of the student athletes’ lives. This Homecoming I am really looking forward to Yardfest.”
Copy edited by Chanice McClover-Lee