PRINCESS ANNE, MD -- Hitting a season-best .414 as a team, UMES crushed Morgan State in shutout fashion (25-12, 25-16, 25-16) to win its seventh conference game in a row. The Hawks moved to 7-0 in the MEAC and 21-4 overall, while the Bears fall to 3-4 in-conference and 3-17 this season.
This marked UMES's 29th straight win at home to continue holding the longest Division I home-winning streak. The Hawks have also won their last 19 conference regular season matches, the longest current streak in the MEAC.
Kills by Victoria Williams (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Ndidi Ibe (North Richland Hills, Texas) helped start UMES go up 3-0 in the first set. A couple of Zuri Smith kills pulled Morgan State to within one at 4-3. Following an Ibe kill, Maline Vaitai (Salt Lake City, Utah) served UMES through a 5-0 run, capped by a back row kill by her, for a 9-3 Hawks lead. Only once in the rest of the set did UMES lose back-to-back points. At 19-12, UMES finished the set on a 6-0 run, including a Saitaua Iosia (Long Beach, Calif.) kill and game-ending ace, to win 25-12.
Iosia's spin serve started the Hawks on a 6-0 run to begin the second set, helped by two kills and a block by Corey Haynes
(Falls Church, Va.). Play went back and forth with UMES constantly
holding a strong lead. At 11-6 UMES, the Hawks won four of the next
five points, including two Vaitai kills, to make a 15-7 score. The
Bears got closer with a kill each by Ngebui Chafeh and Zuri Smith to
pull within four 18-14, but UMES countered with a 3-0 run on a
Haynes-Williams combo block followed by kills from Iosia and Vaitai.
The Hawks won four of the final six points, finished by a Williams ace,
to win the game 25-16 and go up 2-0 in the match.
A pair of Iosia kills helped UMES begin set three 3-1. The Hawks built the lead to three at 7-4 and later 9-6, but a run of three straight MSU points off Chafeh's serving tied the game at nine. After an exchange of points, the Hawks earned a 3-0 run, with a Williams ace sandwiched between two Ibe kills, for a 13-10 lead for the home team. Following an Ashley Johnson service error, Ibe caught on fire on a serving run, earning four aces in a 7-0 run to give UMES a 22-12 advantage to seal the game. UMES won the third game 25-16 to win the match in a shutout.
The Hawks hit .414 as a team, the highest hitting percentage in a match this season for UMES, with 39 kills to just 10 attack errors. In addition, UMES held Morgan State to a .092 hitting percentage.
Iosia led UMES with 14 kills on a .375 hitting percentage, adding five digs and a pair of aces. Haynes earned a team-high six blocks, also contributing six kills with a .857 hitting percentage. Ibe hit .462 with eight kills, four aces and two blocks, while Vaitai hit .368 with eight kills.
Smith had a MSU-high seven kills, followed by Janelle Wilson with six kills and a pair of blocks. Chafeh had 13 assists and four kills at setter.
UMES will play its final home match of the year on Friday, October 26th at 7 p.m. when the Hawks host Howard for Senior Day at the Hytche.