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While the Rebels have notoriously achieved the status of being a formidable program under Coach Preston in the Shore Conference, it's been quite some time since the riches have rained all across the roster like it has in 2023.

The A-North has been a juggernaut of a division this season, with both Howell and No. 6 Middletown South fighting for the top spot.

Over the last week, a lot has transpired across the conference and a lot of questions have been answered. The Rebels started off on the road against last weeks' No. 15 team in Point Beach.

While the Garnet Gulls showed why they were in the rankings, the Rebels showed why they're in the cream of the crop of teams this year.


Junior setter Savannah Torres had a remarkable performance over two sets, leading the Rebels with 19 assists. Junior outside hitter Keira Mullen was the perfect tandem for Torres, giving the Rebels a major boost with 11 kills and 7 digs in the victory.

As a divisional title has been on the minds of Howell, potential Shore Conference Tournament matchups and seeding has also been on the minds of the Rebels. Preston and Southern's head coach Eric Maxwell scheduled a non-divisional matchup down the home stretch of the season. While the Rebels were handed with a tall task, they battled through two strong sets against the number one team in the shore.

The stretch of tough games continued as Colts Neck travelled to Howell for an A-North matchup. While it hasn't been the typical Colts Neck year per standards, the Cougars have won 7 of 12 games after starting 0-4.

The heroics of Mullen and Torres only continued to transpire as Mullen led all with 11 kills and Torres had a game-high 20 assists. Sophomore Gabia Grigaliunas showed why she's a main piece to the success of 2023, posting 9 kills, 4 service points and 3 assists in the victory.

Heading into their matchup against Middletown South, the Rebels were one win away from matching their total from last season and one win away from divisional title destiny.

As South has been electric and scrappy all season, that's exactly what transpired over the first set. Howell had their backs to the walls and needed to dig deep to find a way across the finish line.

Being down a set isn't all the common for this Rebels team, but when they have the roster that's constructed, it's a minor challenge for a greater success. The Rebels were able to find a way and push through the second and third sets, winning both by four. The Rebels claimed the A-North division, their first division title since 2019.

Grigaliunas, Mullen and Sienna Socha-Soares combined for 37 kills and 26 digs over the course of three sets, showing why they're one of the strongest forced to be reckoned with across the conference.

With a divisional title wrapped up and a regular season winding down, the Rebels are working towards a top five seeding in the SCT.

Howell was named the Jersey Mike’s Team of the Week in week 4 for their unbelievable tenacity and their grit which led them to their first divisional title in four years. The Rebels have five more matchups across the shore before tournament time comes around, which includes ranked matchups at Marlboro and Pinelands with a home match against Raritan.  The sky is the limit for Coach Preston's Rebels, looking to get ready for deep runs into the heart of October.

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