Howard volleyball concluded their season and journey towards another Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title with a loss to Coppin State University.
After a winning season, the Bison secured a spot in the MEAC tournament. Sweeping their opponents, the Bison advanced to the championship match where their run was stymied by the Eagles.
With an overall record of 17-14 and a conference record of 11-3, the Bison ended their season stronger than they started. As games were played, skills were enhanced and mistakes were corrected, preparing them for a difficult matchup against Coppin State, whom they would meet again in the MEAC tournament.
“We grew tremendously every game we played during our conference matches, and ending on a high note beating the undefeated Coppin State in an intense five-set match really stamped our progress and growth mentally this season,” said co-captain and outside hitter Jennifer Bolden.
Having competed in the MEAC tournament for the two seasons before the current season, the Bison were aware of the preparation needed to excel and possibly win the conference championship title.
“Going into the MEAC tournament, we knew what would be required of us to win. We knew going in that our defense was going to win games (and) the offense would follow once we focused on our defense and stopping our opponent,” said Bolden.
The time and effort put into being defensively strong as a team was evident in the 3-0 win over Morgan State University in the quarterfinals. The Bison analyzed the technique of the Bears, anticipating where they would place the ball and gameplanned to cover the area.
“Different teams have shots and spots they like and Morgan State is a team that likes to put the ball anywhere. So we had to be ready for everything on defense so that we could ultimately run the offense back,” said co-captain and outside hitter Kendall Smith, a senior from Chicago.
Building off of the momentum from the game previously won against the Bears, the Bison defense was once again a key component in their win against MEAC Champion Delaware State University in a game concluded with a score of 3-0.
“Our team kept Del State at a low hitting percentage the entire game which made it easier for us to score points offensively,” said sophomore libero Claire Simpson.
Riding the wave of adrenaline from the previous two games, the Bison came into the MEAC title match determined. Even though the will was present, it was not enough to defeat the Coppin State Eagles. The mistakes and unsteady emotions that followed were the downfall of the Bison as they lost 0-3.
“We made too many unforced errors and our team cohesiveness broke down early on, so it was hard to shake those feelings mentally and physically,” said Bolden.
Despite falling short of the MEAC championship title, the Bison had a season where they flourished from the insight gained after competing against opponents with different playing styles.
“Nevertheless we win as a team and lose as a team, and I’m honored to play with the girls alongside me at Howard. I wouldn’t trade my team or season for the world and am proud of how much we accomplished,” Smith said.
Copy edited by Alana Matthew