By Carrie Thomas
(Howard, Md) The FIT Tigers never dropped a set in four victories over the weekend to claim the championship at the Dragon Invitational hosted by Howard Community College in Columbia, MD. “These girls played their hearts out from beginning to end in this tournament. They went there with the intention to build and they did just that by taking home the hardware,” stated FIT Coach Carrie Thomas.
In the opening match the Tigers opened up with a victory over host school and #6 nationally ranked Howard Community College. The Tigers beat the Dragons 3-0 with game scores of 25-14, 25-14, 25-17. The Tigers were then off until the next morning, when they would play three matches. They opened the morning with another win by easily beating Lackawanna (PA) in three sets 25-9, 25-16, 25-14. Their next match, quickly after, was against Catonsville of MD where the Tigers ripped to a 3-0 win with set scores of 25-10, 25-6, 25-8. The FIT Tigers then took on a tough College of Southern Maryland in the title game where they cruised to a 3-0 victory with game scores of 25-22, 25-10, 25-21.
“I am so proud of the play of the girls this weekend. We have improved so much as a team even from last weekend’s scrimmages. You can see the teamwork and trust coming together and it makes a world of difference in our play. When we pass the ball well we have the most effective, quick offense and that is definitely what we need to run the floor. Every person on the roster can attack the ball and Anna does a great job of distributing the ball to everyone to make the best play. Each player has the ability to make a great play and they proved that in this tournament,” Thomas said.
Middle blocker Megan Houff led the team offensively recording 52 kills and 10 ace serves and 7 blocks. Setter Anna Buckley dished out the ball offensively with 139 set assists, 13 kills and 15 ace serves. Rachel Carey played in the middle and outside while earning 32 kills for the weekend and 19 ace serves. Freshman Miranda Mitchell blasted out 28 kills and 25 digs. Vivian Htam also split roles on the outside and middle with 25 kills and 10 digs. Michelle Vainblat came on strong with 16 kills and 20 digs. Alison Tyler played stellar defense in the back row digging up 44 balls. Daija Simpson played every role on the floor and picked up 8 digs.
Megan Houff and Anna Buckley were named to the All Tournament team. Megan was also named Tournament MVP.
“This was just a great tournament for us to start off with. We knew that it would be a great bonding experience for the team and it turned out to be so much more. Watching us work so well together on the court gives all the more confidence for the rest of the season,” said Rachel Carey. “I am having so much fun on this team. We all get along great on and off the court and it shows in the way that we play. Not only are we extremely competitive but we definitely have fun at the same time,” claimed Miranda Mitchell. Megan Houff stated, “I think something really clicked for us between last weekend and this weekend. It was something you could actually feel on the court. Everyone all of a sudden trusted each other as well as themselves which really makes a world of difference on a volleyball court.”