Hawks redeem first CIAA loss

Published 2:36 pm Saturday, September 26, 2009

MURFREESBORO – How long did it take the Chowan University volleyball team to get over their first loss in CIAA play?

About 53 minutes.

That’s all the time it took on Thursday for the Hawk pelters to down CIAA-West member, Johnson C. Smith, at the Helms Center, 3-0 (25-10, 25-14, and 25-12).

The win raised Chowan’s league record to 9-1 overall and 3-1 in Western Division play and improved their overall win-loss record to 13-5. Their only blemish in conference play was Tuesday night’s loss in five sets at Fayetteville State.

“We had a ton of service errors in that game,” said second-year coach Peter Green, “maybe fourteen or fifteen, and that served as a wake-up call because so much of our game is built off of being aggressive and serving and we just had too many errors.

“That was one of the things we were working on today,” he added, “were the unforced errors. Today we focused on discipline and eliminating those types of errors.”

Freshman middle hitter Karina Moore registered 15 kills in 20 attempts on the night while sophomore Victoria Lewis, this week’s “CIAA Volleyball Player-of-the-Week”, had 13 kills to go with six digs and three service aces.

Junior Antoinette McCullough had 12 kills in 16 attempts while freshman setter Callie Armistead set up 37 assists to go with three service aces and four digs.

“We have tall people,” said Lewis, “and girls who know how to play and have been playing for a while so I think we’re going to be a tough team to beat this year in the conference.

“We’re mature,” she added, “we have good chemistry, and we all want to win so we can go to nationals.”

Chowan wasted little time exerting their dominance over the Golden Bulls, sprinting out to a 13-3 lead while winning eight points in a row at one point.

Green substituted middle hitters McCullough and Monroe frequently in the match and JCSU could never get closer than nine points as the Lady Hawks cruised, 25-10.

Game-two saw Chowan open 6-1 before a pair of service errors and a return error made it 6-4. From there, the Hawks began to bear down and reeled off eight of the next 10 points to push the score out to 14-8.

Monroe got a pair of ‘monster’ kills on the front line and the Hawks upped it to 23-10. Smith’s gustiness made the final two points interesting thanks to some great volleys, but Chowan easily prevailed, 25-14.

The third set opened pretty even at 3-3 before sophomore hitter Deseray Turner got a kill and sparked new life for the Hawks. Chowan began to open up the match, reeling off six points in a row to make it 10-3; then went on to outscore their opponents, 13-9, and finish off the match, 25-12, with the straight set win.

“They said it was an easy game,” said the soft-spoken Monroe, who had four kills in the final set, “but I don’t think any game is easy. I think of it as a hard game that we have to finish off.

“I have to be always hustling,” she added, “whether the balls flapping all over the place or not. I always go 110 percent and never back off of anything. We got to balls faster, got our passes up and down and we tried to always know where we needed to be.”

“I think we were mad more than anything else,” said Lewis. “We know we could have beaten Fayetteville, but little mental issues got in the way so today we were a lot more careful.

“Besides,”she added with a grin, “Coach gave us a really hard practice yesterday (Wednesday), and I don’t think any of us wanted to go through that again.”

Chowan is back in CIAA action this weekend with a tri-meet in Petersburg featuring back-to-back matches against Virginia Union and Virginia State; both of whom the Hawks defeated in straight sets earlier this season. In fact it’ll be their third meeting with Virginia Union counting the Janet Collins Invitational and the CIAA Round-Up. Game time on Saturday in Ettrick, Virginia will be at 11 a.m.