Coming into this season, Howard volleyball coach Grant Scott hoped to achieve a 3-1 record four games in.
And with heavy hitters St. John's (D.C.), Centennial, Glenelg and River Hill on the schedule, that was a lofty goal.
But after Thursday's win at River Hill, 25-22, 15-25, 25-18, 25-14, Howard accomplished its mission.
The win came three days after the Lions fell to Glenelg in a five-set marathon.
"That kind of shook off our ego a little bit and made us really crack down," said junior setter Hanna Webster. "We had four really good teams right in the beginning, so we had to push it and we met (Scott's) goal of 3-1."
River Hill's top blockers — Keana Richards, Kalala Pines and Emily Luo — did an admirable job of limiting Howard senior Sydney Biniak, one of the most feared hitters in the league. But Courtney Merson (10 kills, 4 blocks) and Maya Hairston (6 kills, 4 blocks) stepped up to fill the void.
"Their blocking was outstanding, they took Sydney out which made the rest of my team have to adjust," Scott said. "My middles stepped up."
The Hawks were led offensively by Richards, with 10 kills, and sophomore setter Brianna Davis with 16 assists and four aces.
"We battled hard," coach Lynn Paynter said. "We served tough and we blocked well."
Around the league
Centennial 3, Hammond 0
Glenelg 3, Reservoir 1
The Gladiators took an early setback to Reservoir, falling 25-23 in the first set, but undefeated Glenelg battled back to win the match, 25-18, 25-17, 27-25.
Morgan Perry (19 kills, 22 digs), Sarah Girard (16 kills, 24 digs), Molly Calvert (10 kills) and Lauren Wright (7 kills) led the Gladiators on offense, while setter Rachael Girard collected 39 assists.
Imani Clayton (6 kills, 3 blocks), Maddy Belt (7 kills, 14 digs), Paige Foley (12 assists) and Caroline Winand (11 assists) led the Gators in defeat.
Wilde Lake 3, Marriotts Ridge 1
The Wildecats took out the Mustangs in four sets, 25-19, 25-22, 17-25, 25-8.
Chapelgate 3, Seton Keough 0
The Yellowjackets completed the three-game sweep, 25-19, 25-16, 25-17.
Glenelg Country School 3, Baltimore Lutheran
Junior Alexis Foxwell (7 kills, 3 aces, perfect serving) led the Dragons to a four-set win over Baltimore Lutheran, 25-20, 25-18, 21-25, 25-15. Sophomore Ka'Mari Robinson also was a key contributor with six kills and perfect serving. Cecilia Narrett chipped in five kills, and sophomore Sarah Gibney served eight aces.