BALTIMORE - For the second time this season, UMES shut out in-state rival Coppin State (25-23, 25-20, 25-14), staying undefeated in MEAC play at 10-0 and 24-4 overall. The Eagles fall to 5-5 in-conference and 10-12 this season.
With the win, UMES is just a victory or a Norfolk State defeat away from securing its sixth-straight MEAC Northern Division championship and one-seed in the upcoming conference tournament.
In addition, UMES has won 22 straight MEAC regular season matches, continuing the longest current streak in the conference.
An early 3-0 Coppin State run gave the home team a 5-3 lead in the first set. Kills by Corey Haynes (Falls Church, Va.) and Victoria Williams (Los Angeles, Calif.) tied the set at five, as back and forth scoring commenced. At 11-11, Coppin State took three in a row for a 14-11 advantage. After an exchange of points, a Denali Sturgeon service error and Jessie Vicic (Cambridge, Ontario, Canada) ace pulled the Hawks within one. Later at 16-14 Coppin State, the Hawks surged forward on Saitaua Iosia's (Long Beach, Calif.) serving for a 4-0 run for an 18-16 advantage. The Eagles tied it up at 18 and later at 19. UMES pushed on a 3-0 run, sandwiched by two Williams kills, for a 22-19 lead. UMES held off a pair of Ariel Richard kills on a comeback attempt, winning the set on a kill from Ndidi Ibe (North Richland Hills, Texas) for a 25-23 set one victory.
Teams kept siding out in the start of the second set, as UMES kept pace with kills from Ibe, Maline Vaitai
(Salt Lake City, Utah) and Haynes. Neither side led by more than one
early; at 12-11 Coppin, a pair of Iosia kills pushed UMES ahead by one.
Teams continued to go back and forth until the two squads were tied at
16. After a Williams kill, Haynes served for the Hawks. A couple of
Vaitai kills and three Coppin attack errors gave UMES a 6-0 run and
22-16 advantage. The Hawks held off a 3-0 counter run, winning three of
the final four points, capped by another Ibe kill for a game-winner,
for a 25-20 game win and 2-0 match lead.
UMES came out strong in the third set, using two Ibe and Vaitai combo blocks to build an early 4-1 lead, later going up 6-2 on an Ibe kill and Vaitai ace. Coppin State got back three points, including a kill and block by Richard, to pull within one. Following an exchange of points, a 3-0 UMES run pushed the visitors up by four. At 11-8, another 3-0 Hawks run, including an Ibe kill, gave UMES a six-point lead. The Eagles won the next two points, but Williams countered with two kills to rebuild the lead to six. After an Eagles point, the Hawks took the next five points, including a Vaitai ace, to go up 21-11. UMES took the set 25-14 to earn the shutout victory.
Williams finished with a match-high 13 kills, hitting .667 with just one error on 18 total attacks. Ibe had nine kills and a team-high two aces and four blocks. Iosia nearly had a double double with eight kills and nine digs, while Vaitai had eight kills and three blocks.
Richard led the Eagles with 11 kills and three blocks, adding four digs. Bianca Chatman had four kills and three digs, while Kandace Thomas also had four kills, adding three blocks.
The Hawks will prepare for their final pair of MEAC matches, starting with the Spartans of Norfolk State on the road on Friday, November 9th at 7 p.m.