by Benjamin McKnight III
At the end of their opening round loss in the MEAC Volleyball Tournament to Florida A&M University last fall, Morgan State head coach Ramona Riley-Bozier was already thinking about the next season.
“I had to have a talk with Ramona,” said Riley-Bozier.
For the past few years, the Lady Bears of were stuck in the middle of the pack of in the MEAC standings at the end of the season. Entering her 28th season as the head coach for the Lady Bears, Riley-Bozier said that she was looking for anything that would give her team a new competitive spark for the 2015 season, which resulted in a pre-season teambuilding boot camp with the help of the ROTC department.
“We needed to push everyone,” Riley-Bozier said. Senior Dinah Jones also said, “It helped us to be able to fight in games.”
The non-conference portion of season yielded many of the same struggles for the Lady Bears as they lost 11 of their first 14 matches.
“When you get on the bus, there’s no turning back,” Riley-Bozier told her team before traveling to Hampton to begin conference play near the end of September. “We’re going to battle.”
That September 25 trip began a plethora of dominating conference performances for the Lady Bears, who are now 8-2 and in second place of the MEAC Northern Division going into the last weekend of the regular season.
Tonight, the Lady Bears go to Howard to play for the top spot in the division. In their last meeting, Morgan won 3-1. “We just need to get out there and play our game and execute,” said Jones.
“We’ve gotten way too far to not go to Howard this weekend and not whip some butt,” said senior Samantha Prescott.
Should they beat Howard tonight as well Coppin State at home on Sunday afternoon, the Lady Bears will earn the number one seed in the division and post their best conference record since 2011.
“Coming in, we had a bunch of different girls who could play any single position,” said Prescott in regards to her first few seasons at Morgan. “This year, we have girls who are really perfected in one position.” Riley-Bozier added that, in the past, seniors “weren’t carrying their weight,” commending this team’s six senior members on their leadership and experience guiding the younger athletes.
Regardless of this weekend’s results, Riley-Bozier and her team has one goal for the MEAC Tournament; “To win,” said Riley-Bozier. “There’s nothing else.”