Bee Manley obviously wasn't making a fashion statement yesterday with the cows that adorned her T-shirt, sneakers and jewelry.
Instead, the first-year Anne Arundel Community College volleyball coach wanted to remind her players that C-O-W, the mascot chosen for this particular game, stood for "Crushing and Outwitting Women."
The Pioneers then went out and utterly frustrated Manley with another sluggish start, this time against a visiting Essex Community College team that was 11-2 overall and 4-0 in the JuCo Conference.
But the hosts remained calm and, behind the clutch serving of Stacey Pirotte and the powerful net play of 6-foot-3 Jen Erlandson, swept the Knights, 16-14, 16-14, 15-9.
"We seem to be a very slow-starting team. It's a characteristic of ours," said Manley, whose Pioneers are 17-6-1 overall and 5-1 in the conference. "But it's neat that they have the ability to come back."
A lack of communication and numerousmis-hits had Anne Arundel behind, 13-5, in the opening game, before sophomore setter Amy Hopkins (South River) served four straight points to bring her team back.
Then, with the Pioneers down, 14-10, Pirotte (Severna Park) served three aces, and four points total, to eventhe score. An Erlandson spike returned service to Anne Arundel, and put-aways from Hopkins and Erlandson completed the first comeback.
"It's a horrible habit we have of starting slow and finishing strong," Hopkins said.
Anne Arundel did the same in the second game, falling behind, 13-8, before Pirotte served three points -- including one of her seven aces -- to close the gap.
She mishandled two consecutive sets but eventually ended the second game with yet another ace.
Erlandson (Severna Park) had tied the score at 13 when, with Hopkins serving, she recorded two blocks and a hit against the smaller Knights.
"We'll panic, and sometimes we show it, sometimes we don't.Today, we pulled together and I'm proud of the team," said Erlandson, who finished with 20 kills and 11 solo blocks.
The third game was relatively easy, though the Pioneers had to battle back from a 9-4 deficit.
Freshman hitter Josie Boddy (Arundel) served seven of thelast 11 Anne Arundel points, Pirotte scored a couple of soft winnersat the net, and Erlandson offered an ace, two spikes and a block in the latter stages.
"We're still working on a fairly new rotation,"Manley said, "and we still have a lot of kinks to work out."
And another animal to choose before tomorrow's tri-match against Marymount and host St. Mary's.
"It gets our spirit up," Hopkins said.
"Once, she had a flamingo. It's strange, real strange."
With yesterday's cow as a motivator, Manley succeeded in milking another victoryfrom her Pioneers.