Volleyball Back at Home to Host America East Rivals Hartford and Providence
Senior Emily Witsaman
BALTIMORE – After a weekend trip to upstate New York which included back-to-back five-set contests against Albany and Binghamton, the UMBC volleyball team returns home to host America East foes Hartford and Providence at the RAC Arena. The Retrievers will take on the Hawks in their annual Dig Pink match on Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. before playing host to the Friars on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. Both matches will be streamed live on the America East Digital Network.
All money raised from the Dig Pink contest will be donated to the Side-Out Foundation. Dig Pink t-shirts can be purchased at the match and donations are accepted online.
Scouting the Retrievers
UMBC (12-8, 3-2 AE) earned its first ever win over Albany on the road with a five-set victory on Friday night at University Gymnasium. Sophomore middle Krystal Mlemchukwu (Baltimore, Md./Western Tech) paced the Retriever attack by smashing 19 kills while senior setter Mallory McIntyre (Winnipeg, Manitoba/St. Mary’s Academy) returned to the lineup to hand out a season-best 56 assists in the win.
On Sunday, the Retrievers fought back from a 2-0 deficit to force a fifth set, but eventually fell at Binghamton. McIntyre and classmate Ali Goc (Oshawa, Ontario/R.S. McLaughlin) both recorded a double-double for the Black and Gold with Goc registering 11 kills and 16 digs.
The Retrievers currently lead the America East in both hitting percentage (.203) and opponent hitting percentage (.144) while McIntyre and senior Rebecca Garrigues (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) have combined to help UMBC average a conference-best 11.36 assists per set.
Goc leads the Black and Gold with 206 kills and ranks sixth in the conference with a 2.64 kills per set average. Four other Retrievers have sent down 100 or more winners sending UMBC to the top of the league as the Black and Gold averages 12.14 kills per set.
The Retrievers have been solid on defense as well and pace the league with 2.11 blocks per set and 15.65 digs per set. Senior Emily Witsaman (Medina, Ohio/Medina) leads UMBC up front with a 0.94 blocks per set mark while freshman libero Casey Griffith (King of Prussia, Pa./Upper Merion) recorded a career-best 28 digs against Albany and holds a 4.06 digs per set average, good for fourth in the league.
Scouting the Hawks
Hartford (8-13, 2-3 AE) defeated league newcomer UMass Lowell in four sets on Friday evening behind a team-best ten kills from junior Sareeta Nethersole, but fell in straight sets at New Hampshire to complete the weekend and snap a two-match winning streak.
The Hawks sit third in both hitting categories in the league and just behind the Retrievers in assists and kills, averaging 11.28 and 12.08 per frame, respectively. Junior setter Jackie Tamburri holds a 9.61 assists per set average to rank second behind McIntyre.
UMBC swept the season-series against Hartford in 2012 to improve to 20-2 all-time against the Hawks and 18-2 in America East play. Hartford last defeated UMBC in 2011 with a five-set victory to snap the Retrievers’ 14-match winning streak.
In the first meeting between the squads last season, Hannah Schmidt (Catonsville, Md./Mount de Sales) notched 16 kills and scooped up ten digs to lead UMBC to a straight-set victory. Then, in the return matchup in Baltimore on Senior Day, Mlemchukwu sent down ten winners and the Retrievers limited the Hawks to .018 hitting in another three-set win.
Scouting the Friars
Providence (11-11, 3-2 AE) swept St. Peter’s at home on Wednesday evening to pull back to .500 for the year. Junior Mackenzie Ziegler led the Friar attack with ten kills as sophomore setter Jordan Wiesler handed out 33 assists and freshman Michelle Cruz picked up 11 digs.
The Friars have been dangerous this year with stellar defensive play and rank second in the America East in opponent hitting percentage (.183) and digs (15.60). Cruz leads the league with her 4.49 digs per set average while Lindsay Witt is second in the conference in blocking, averaging 0.95 blocks per set.
The Retrievers claimed both meetings last season in four sets to improve to 9-2 all-time against the Friars and 6-0 in America East play. The teams first met on back-to-back days in October of 1989 with Providence winning both contests in straight sets. Since then, UMBC has won all nine meetings.
The visiting Friars took the first set in Baltimore in 2012, but then Sherelle Walker (New Freedom, Pa./Susquehannock) pounded down 17 winners to lead all hitters and the Retrievers rallied for a four-set victory. In the return game in Rhode Island, Schmidt recorded her tenth double-double of the season with 16 kills and 11 digs, and McIntyre dished out 50 assists, in another four-set contest.
Retriever Stat Pack
at West Virginia
Ali Goc (2)
Ali Goc (3)
Ali Goc (4)
Mallory McIntyre (2)
Ali Goc (5)
Ali Goc (6)
at West Virginia
Mallory McIntyre (3)
Ali Goc (7)
Hannah Schmidt (2)
Ali Goc (8)
Hannah Schmidt (3)
Ali Goc (9)
Mallory McIntyre (4)