The College of Southern Maryland women's volleyball team won a thrilling game against the Howard Community College Dragons on October 8 in La Plata, winning the match 3-2.
After being down 5-8 in the first set, CSM went on an 8-1 run to take a 13-9 lead. There were hard-fought points later in the set that included long rallies with great saves and effort by both teams.
At the end of the first set, CSM went on a four-point run that included two consecutive service aces to put the Hawks up 24-20. However, Howard grabbed the next three points to bring the score to 24-23. CSM decided to call a timeout to draw up the right play, and it worked as they won the set 25-23 on the next point.
In the second set, the Hawks found themselves down 15-17. They then rattled off five straight points to go up 20-17, forcing Howard to take a timeout. The Dragons regrouped, and they too went on a five-point run to retake the lead at 22-20. Howard managed to hold off the Hawks to win the set 25-23.
Even after being down 6-13 in the third set, CSM came back to win, thanks to two key runs. After Howard went up 15-9, CSM scored five straight points to bring them within one at 15-14. The Hawks kept up with the Dragons until they needed to take their second timeout of the set when Howard took a 21-19 lead. The right adjustments were made, and the Hawks went on a 6-1 run to take the set 25-22.
CSM let a 10-6 lead slip through their fingers in the fourth set. Howard went on a 6-0 run and never looked back, winning the set 25-16 to force the decisive fifth set.
The teams traded the first nine points with CSM taking the first two-point lead at 6-4. Howard tied it back up at 8-8 and took their first lead at 10-9. CSM was determined to win the set and match though, answering with four straight points to go up 13-10. The set then finished how it started, with both teams trading points. CSM took the set 15-12 and the match 3-2.
This was the first five-set match for CSM this season.
The Hawks had a season-high 37 kills in the match, with nearly a third of them (12) coming from sophomore Katelyn Kluh and freshman Meah Eackles contributing nine. Kluh and Eackles led the team in hitting percentage as well, at .292 and .263, respectively.
Kluh made three service aces, while Eackles added a solo block.
CSM head coach Jenica Leonard said, "I think the biggest takeaway for me was just to see they actually had a lot of heart and passion in the last sets to really pull it out. They've been kind of dibble-dabbling throughout the last games where it's kind of like 'Eh, kind of want it, kind of don't want it,' but this game I could tell they really wanted it. They really wanted to win."
"I think it's amazing that we were able to come together as a team and really pull it off," Kluh added. "There were some amazing runs we had where we were having fun, we were putting the ball down, we had all this energy, and it just felt great to play as a team that way."