When Toby Rens arrived in Princess Anne in 2001, his goal was to turn around a Hawks’ volleyball program that failed to win a match the two previous seasons. From 1993 to 2000, the program posted a .169 winning percentage.
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore launched the fast-paced sport for women in 1983, but teams were inconsistently competitive in matches as well as in attracting top-flight student-athletes during its first 17 years.
Things changed with the dawn of the 21st century, however.
From 2001 to 2010 — under Rens, Alex Temkin and Don Metil — the Hawks won 182 games while losing just 118.
The 2001 Hawks’ squad produced a 3-28 record, but built on that foundation in 2002 (when Rens won MEAC Coach of the Year honors) behind the talents of Jana Milin (2002-04), an eventual two-time MEAC Player of the Year. Milin was one of first of a growing number of talented international players who found their way to UMES and finished a career with 1,795 kills, 315 aces and 1,062 digs. Rens also recruited 2003 MEAC Rookie of the Year, Sandra Dzile, to get the turn-around started.
The Hawks went 46-27 during Rens' final seasons before moving on to become head coach at Long Island University.
Temkin (2004-06) led the Hawks to a 43-58 slate, which included a team in transition in 2005 that won only five games. Temkin brought in Caylin Woodward, a two-time All-MEAC selection in 2006, who helped the squad to its second 19-win season under Temkin.
Don Metil, who came to the Hawks after two seasons at Coppin State, took over from Temkin in 2007 and brought with him Whitney Johnson, a transfer student from Albany, who also earned MEAC Player of the Year and All conference honors.
Metil added a host of other top players in the conference, including: Christina Estebane, the 2008 MEAC Player of the Year, 2008 MEAC Rookie of the Year Christine Edwards, 2009 MEAC Rookie of the Year Bella Jade Romero and 2009 MEAC Rookie of the Year Maline Vaitai.
Metil’s Hawks have gone 93-32 in four seasons: 24-4 (’07), 25-9 (’08), 24-7 (’09), 20-12 (’10), while winning the MEAC Northern Division each season of his tenure. Metil was chosen MEAC Coach of the Year in 2007 and 2009.
His 2011 squad features players from California, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, Utah and Virginia as well as Canada, China and Switzerland.
Through the first 23 matches of the 2011 season, the Hawks sported a 17-6 record and were undefeated in MEAC play – bringing Metil’s career record at UMES to 110-38.
The future looks bright.
-- UMES athletics department