By: Jordan Cope, Assistant Sports Editor
Towson competed in the North Dakota State Tournament this weekend and stretched its winning streak to six games with victories over North Dakota State, Milwaukee and Utah Valley.
“It’s a very young team so it’s nice that we put a lot of obstacles in front of them so far this year,” Head Coach Don Metil said.
In addition to the wins, senior captain Haley Pa’akaula also set a school record with 30 kills against Utah Valley.
“I give all the credit to my team,” she said. “Our setters did a great job of putting the ball where I needed it and it felt good to establish a connection with both of them.”
The Tigers (7-1) opened up the tournament Friday night against North Dakota State where the team earned a 3-1 victory over the Bison.
Towson trailed North Dakota State by six points in the first set but went on a few runs and won the set 27-25.
“It was incredibly hot in the gym, girls were going through two jerseys during that play,” Metil said. “For them to stay focused and pull out three wins over the weekend was pretty special.”
After taking the first set, the Tigers dropped the second set but took sets three and four to secure the win over the Bison.
“I’ve seen a lot of growth in our team already,” Pa’akaula said. “We faced tough teams this past weekend and battled through our struggles to pull out three wins.”
In game two of the tournament, Towson faced Milwaukee and earned a 3-1 victory. Despite dropping the second set of the match, the Tigers took three of four sets from the Panthers to secure the victory.
“It took us a while to get ourselves going since it was an early match,” Pa’akaula said. “We had some really good plays, and some really sloppy plays, but luckily we made it out with a win.”
In their final match of the North Dakota State Tournament, Towson earned a hard-fought 3-2 win over Utah Valley.
“After we saw all the teams play at North Dakota we thought that maybe Utah Valley was going to be our most difficult match,” Metil said.
The Tigers dropped the first set to the Wolverines but battled back to win the next two sets.
In the fourth set, Utah Valley earned a 25-17 win but Towson was able to take the decisive fifth set.
The Tigers will compete in the Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West Penn Invitational next weekend, which includes matches against Fairfield, University of Pennsylvania and Binghamton.
“We definitely need to continue to work on our blocks,” Metil said. “If we are not blocking balls then we need to take up some space and put our centers in areas where we can dig more balls up. But blocking is a great concern right now for us and we need to clean up our service areas.”