Lincoln, NE. -- The UMBC Volleyball team fought valiantly, holding a late lead in the third set, but ultimately fell to No.12 Nebraska in three sets (25- 19, 25-13, 25-20) in front of 7,907 fans on the first day of the Ameritas Players Challenge on Friday afternoon. In the nightcap, Saint Mary's (CA.) swept the Retrievers (25-19, 25-22, 25-6) despite a combined 15 kills from Carmen Freeman (Memphis, Tenn./St.Mary's) and Lauren Mortimer (Queen Anne's, Md./Queen Anne's)
The first set against the host Huskers started tight as the teams were tied at 7-7 after a Krytsia Negron (San Juan, Puerto Rico / Colegio Adianez) kill. However, Nebraska (2-1) went on a big run to close out the set, and the run continued through the second set. UMBC (1-4) would lead for most of the third set, and held a late 16-14 lead after a Mortimer kill. The Huskers went on a 6-1 run, but kills by Abbie Mirabella (Hockessin, Del./St.Mark's) and Marissa Duncan (Ellicott City, Md./Mt.Hebron) eventually closed the gap to 21-20, before the hosts scored the final four points to take the set and the match.
Negron finished with 11 assists and two kills, while fellow setter Claudia Lopez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico / Academia Maria Reina) finished with 12 assists and five digs. Sophomore libero Kristin Watson (Bowie, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt) had 12 digs and three assists, while Mirabella finished with seven kills.
Against Saint Mary's (2-3), Mortimer and Freeman finished with eight and seven kills, respectively. Lopez finished with 21 assists and four digs, Watson tallied 10 digs and sophomore Brooke Hayden (Mt.Airy, Md./Linganore) earned six digs and two kills.
UMBC will close out play in Nebraska with a noon matchup with Oral Roberts. Fans can follow on twitter @UMBCVolleyball and/or with Live Stats at UMBCRetrievers.com