The College of Charleston volleyball team has a long and storied tradition. After experiencing much success over the past several years, the school has attracted the best of the best when it comes to volleyball talent. Senior Cara Howley is no exception.
Howley, however, has a unique story about how she got to her spot on the court at TD Arena.
Howley began her career at the University of South Carolina back in 2011. At South Carolina, she led the team with a .294 hitting percentage, which ranked 11th in the Southeastern Conference.
After playing two seasons for the Gamecocks, Howley transferred to the College of Charleston.
The McKinney, Texas native joined head coach Jason Kepner’s squad in 2013 and began her stellar career at the College.
In her first campaign as a Cougar, Howley was named to the All-CAA second team. In addition, she ranked second in conference in hitting percentage (.313) and led the conference in service aces with 0.33/set.
She was also honored with the CAA Offensive Player of the Week title after hitting .490 in wins at Northeastern and Hofstra in September 2013.
Howley proved to play a pivitol role in the Cougars run to the CAA Championship in their first season as members of the league.
“Winning the CAA conference tournament last year was for sure my most memorable experience at the College thus far. In that one moment, it felt like playing through injuries, transferring schools, and playing for many years had finally paid off,” Howley said.
Howley also proved to be a force on Charleston’s sand volleyball team in the spring. Howley played with teammate Melissa Morello in the number two flight in 2014, posting a record of 6-12 with important wins against Oregon and UAB.
Her second and final season at Charleston may be bittersweet, but Howley is already off to a good start.
“Playing Wake Forest this year at our home tournament was the most confident I have ever played offensively, and as a result I had a career high performance,” she commented.
Against Wake Forest during the College of Charleston Classic in September, Howley led the way for the Cougars with a career-high 26 kills (.429), which earned her tournament MVP honors.
After her tournament performance, she was named CAA Offensive Player of the Week for the second time in her career.
Howley has big goals for her final season on the volleyball court. With such amazing successes in her past, she wants to cap off her career in the best way possible.
“I am looking forward to winning the conference tournament and making a run in the NCAA tournament. We had a great season last year, and I would like to try and make it even further this year,” she said.
She will graduate this spring from the College with her masters’ in communication. While continuing to play volleyball might not be in her post-graduation plans, Howley wants to stay involved with athletics.
“After interning at Nike this past summer, I realized my passion for global communications and public relations. I would love to continue in this field and potentially even work in the sports industry after graduation,” she said.
Despite the rigor of playing a Division I sport in college, Howley says she would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
“Playing volleyball in college has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Regardless of how stressful it can be to balance school, work and volleyball, being a part of this team and representing the College is something I would never trade,” she said.
Catch Howley and the Cougars in action when Charleston plays Hofstra on Friday night and against Northeastern on Saturday night, both beginning at 7 p.m. at TD Arena.