WASHINGTON, D.C.—Howard University won its fourth straight Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) volleyball championship Sunday evening in Burr Gymnasium, sweeping North Carolina A&T State 3-0 (25-23, 27-25, 25-16).
The Bison claimed the MEAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.
Jurnee Tipton led the Bison (20-10) with nine kills on a night when offense was at a premium. She had 12 digs to go with her offensive production, while Tamia Dockery added 28 assists and 14 digs for yet another double-double.
Both Tipton and Dockery were named to the All-Tournament Team, as was Outstanding Performer Kira Porter.
Fola Wilson led the Howard defense with 20 digs.
“This was an ugly game offensively,” Shaun Kupferberg, Howard head coach and the tournament’s Outstanding Coach, said. “And a lot of that has to do with A&T’s defense. They’re a defensive-minded team, just like us, and that showed through tonight.”
Both teams hit below .100 for the match, and in the first two sets, the Aggies – the No. 3 seed from the Southern Division – were game. In fact, the Aggies (14-12) were within two late in the first set, having cut the lead to 24-23.
But Tipton answered with a kill on the next point, giving the Bison a 1-0 lead in their fifth straight championship match appearance.
North Carolina A&T State then jumped out to an 8-2 lead to open the second set, finding that margin on an Edie Brewer kill. But the Bison answered by scoring 10 of the next 14 points, tying the set at 12-12 after Courtney Dalton and Indira Dandridge paired on a block.
Howard’s momentum carried from there, and the Bison led 19-15.
But the Aggies had another spurt in them, and a Courteney Pitt kill gave them a 25-24 lead and set them up to tie the match at 1-1. But Howard answered with two Kailyn Williams kills and a Porter strike to close out the set 27-25.
The Aggies led 3-1 early in the third set, but Howard used a 10-2 run to go up 11-5 and take control of the set. The clincher came when Fatimah Shabazz committed an attack error, ending the set and giving the Bison another trophy.
“They’re all different,” Kupferberg said of his four straight titles. “It’s so hard to compare one year to the next. We’ll enjoy this one tonight and then focus on getting ready for the NCAA Tournament.”
“I feel a closeness with this year’s seniors simply because I’ve been with them longer,” Porter said. “And that makes this one really sweet.”
Pitt and Brewer joined Porter, Tipton and Dockery on the All-Tournament Team, as did Florida A&M’s Maria Yvette Garcia and Bethune-Cookman’s Jordan Jefferson.
Outstanding Performer: Kira Porter, Howard; Outstanding Coach: Shaun Kupferberg, Howard
MEAC All-Tournament Team
Jordan Jefferson, Bethune-Cookman; Maria Yvette Garcia, Florida A&M; Tamia Dockery, Howard; Kira Porter, Howard;
Jurnee Tipton, Howard; Edie Brewer, North Carolina A&T State; Courteney Pitt, North Carolina A&T State