In a match that lived up to its billing, the College of Charleston downed Hofstra University in five sets to win the CAA regular season title on Hofstra’s home floor and earn home court advantage in the CAA Tournament.
The matchup was a winner-take-all scenario for the Cougars and Pride. Charleston (22-9, 14-2 CAA) found themselves down two sets to one before winning the final two sets of the night to take the match.
The night started out fast for the the Cougars. Charleston dominated the first set, hitting .312 as a team, and picked up a 25-14 opening victory.
Hofstra took the next two sets in close scores, 25-22 and 25-23, putting Charleston in a do-or-die situation. The Cougars delivered in the fourth set, winning 25-18 and forcing the deciding fifth set.
Charleston took a 7-4 lead in the fifth set after a kill by Cara Howley, one of her 16 on the night. The match stayed tight, with Hofstra keeping the score within two points until consecutive kills from Howley and Mackenzie Cooler gave the Cougars match point at 14-10.
With match point on the line, Howley stepped up and delivered one more kill to win the match and clinch the title.
“I’m just really proud of this group,” head coach Jason Kepner said. “We came here to with the intent to win a conference championship and that was probably one of the better matches we’ve played all year. Everybody played great for us tonight.”
Melissa Morello tallied 15 kills, while Sloane White contributed 14. Kallie McKown posted 32 assists and Andi Zbojniewicz turned in her usual great performance with 25 digs.
With their win, the Cougars earned the right to host the CAA Tournament at TD Arena next weekend for the second consecutive season.
“I’m thrilled that we’re going to host the tournament. It’ll be great for us to be in our own building. The team will be able to utilize their own locker room – their own training room, so I love the fact that we have the opportunity to host the CAA Championship in Charleston for a second consecutive year,” Kepner said.
Charleston rides a nine game winning streak into the CAA Tournament, with their last loss coming on Oct. 15.
The tournament starts Nov. 21. Times and matchups to be announced.