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Hawks stun St. Augustine’s

MURFREESBORO – They didn’t have to click their heels together, but the Chowan University volleyball team can say, ‘There’s no place like home.’

After playing all but four dates this year away from the ‘friendly confines’ of the Helms Center, the Hawks won their third home match in a row with a three-game sweep of St. Augustine’s College Tuesday night, 25-17, 25-16 and 25-20.

Its part of a five-game home stand for Chowan that include matches against CIAA (Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association) schools Shaw University (Thursday) and Virginia Union on Saturday for Homecoming.

Antoinette McCollough and Adrian Cook led the Hawks with a team-high seven kills each while Cook also tallied three blocks, two of them solo.

Overall, Chowan out hit the Lady Falcons 29 to 23 and tallied 12 team kills in the final set. Nicole Shoup had a team-high three service aces while Setter Melissa Hallam set up 24 assists.

“It’s nice to be home with our fans,” said a smiling Hallam after the match. “A lot of them were out here tonight and they were pretty loud.”

“We’ve been working on a faster offense,” said Hawks’ coach Peter Green, “making the other team move since we’re a bit of a smaller team. She (Hallam) really stepped it up tonight and she’s done a great job with the transition.”

Despite facing a taller team, the Hawks used quickness to keep St. Augustine’s off-balance. With the game tied 20-20 in the final set, Chowan reeled off the final five points thanks to a pair of kills and two outstanding blocks at the net.

“Making the switch to a 6-1 has gotten our middlebacks and outside hitters more involved in the offense,” said Green, “and it gives us much more offense out of the back row.”

“The girls did a lot of great passing,” added Hallam, “which didn’t leave me a lot of work to do, but I still had to get the ball out there.”

The visiting Falcons were coming off an unbeaten week in which they won a pair of CIAA games to move into third-place in the overall conference standings. Setter Roxanne Smith, two-time “CIAA Rookie of the Week” for 39 assists in six games was held to just 10 assists versus Chowan.

“They (St. Augustine’s) are the number three team in the CIAA so it’s a good win for us,” Green said.

“We’ve got our eye on the regionals,” said Hallam. “And I think our confidence is building.”