PRINCESS ANNE, Md.- In their toughest tournament to date, the Hawks volleyball squad faced off against two formidable foes in Loyola (Md.) and Manhattan College. It wasn’t easy at times, but in the end, UMES continued their undefeated streak to open the season, extending the mark to 10-0. The hometown Hawks defeated Loyola in five sets, then won a 3-1 decision over Manhattan in the nightcap.
Two Hawks were named to the All-Tournament team. Senior Petra Jerabkova (Prague, Czech Republic) earned MVP honors after amassing a stat line of four kills, 71 assists, 18 digs, three aces and three blocks. Freshman Zuzana Ondruskova (Bilovec, Czech Republic) picked up 31 kills, 21 digs, five aces and four blocks.
In the first match the Hawks fell behind early as the visiting Greyhounds captured the first set, 25-18. But UMES would battle back in the second set, jumping to an insurmountable lead midway thru and flipping the script, winning by their own 25-18 score and tying the match at one.
Loyola rebounded to take a close third set, 25-23, then built up a lead in set four in the hopes of ending the Hawks’ cherished win streak. In the last third of that set, the Hawks stormed back, benefiting from some Greyhound errors and plenty of kills from Ondruskova. An ace from Jerabkova gave the Hawks the lead at 21-20, and kills from sophomore Kirstin Fink (Tucson, Ariz.) and freshman Lucia Babic (Novi Sad, Serbia) gave the set to UMES and knotted the match up at two.
Once again the Greyhounds seized an early lead and almost made the Hawks comeback null and void. Not to be outdone, Ondruskova earned her stripes with a pair of aces and a kill, allowing the home team to take the game by erasing a 10-7 deficit and turning it into a 15-11 victory.
The evening match would also begin favoring the visiting squad, as the Jaspers won a tightly contested first set. UMES would race back in set two, using kills from Ondruskova, Babic and freshman Rachel Kayongo (Northridge, Calif.) to build an 8-2 lead. The advantage would be enough as the Hawks won the set by nine points.
Set three followed a similar pattern early, as the Hawks jumped out again, but Manhattan tied it up at the midway point. Then a bevy of attack errors would besiege the Jaspers, and kills from Hawks sophomore Alana Polk (Houston, Texas) helped her team earn a 25-14 set three win.
Manhattan would not go quietly in the fourth set, keeping pace with the Hawks right to the finish line. However, once again, it was the ever reliable Ondruskova to the rescue, supplying three critical kills late, the first of which puts the Hawks up for good.
The 10-0 start for UMES continues to be the best start in school history, which it surpassed all the way back on Sept. 5 against Quinnipiac. Every undefeated win will continue to add to this record.
Next up for UMES will be the Courtyard by Marriott Volleyball Classic in Wilmington, N.C., where the Hawks will face off with Stetson University on Friday. A 5:30 p.m. first serve is scheduled at Hanover Hall on UNCW’s campus.
All Tournament Team:
Petra Jerabkova (UMES) **MVP**
Zuzana Ondruskova (UMES)
Haley Puddy (Loyola)
Molly Cichosz (Loyola)
Kelsey Murphy (N.C. Central)
Claire Van Dyk (Manhattan)