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Volleyball Falls in America East Semis to Albany, 3-0
America East Rookie of the Year Dalton Tolliver led the Retrievers with 13 kills
ALBANY, N.Y. – UMBC volleyball freshman Dalton Tolliver (Ortonville, Mich./Notre Dame Prep) had a team-high 13 kills and senior Allie Spaay (Kenosha, Wis./Kenosha Tremper) recorded her 15th double-double of the year, but top-seeded Albany topped the Retrievers, 3-0 in the America East semifinals Friday night at University Gymnasium. The Great Danes advance to Saturday’s final against Stony Brook with set scores of 25-23, 26-24, 25-20.
Tolliver, the 2011 America East Rookie of the Year, recorded double-digit kills for the fifth consecutive match for UMBC (16-12, 6-6 America East), who qualified for the conference tournament for the fourth straight year.
“It was such a close match, just a few points here and there separated us tonight,” said head coach Ian Blanchard. “But give Albany credit, they’re a really good team and won some pivotal points in the match.”
Playing in what ended up being their final match, Spaay and Iman Kennedy (Charlotte, N.C./Independence) led by example against the Great Danes. Spaay recorded 30 assists and 12 digs, while Kennedy had seven kills and a solo block.
Spaay was just one of three Retrievers in double figures for digs, as Ali Loynachan (Whitby, Ontario, Canada/Sinclair) had a team-high 17 digs, and sophomores Ali Goc (Oshawa, Ontario, Canada/R.S. McLaughlin) and Hallie Carter (Huntington Beach, Calif./Edison) recorded 16 digs and 10 digs, respectively.
The Great Danes and Retrievers battled throughout the night after the example was set in the first set. In the opening set alone, the two squads were tied seven times before Albany took the initiative in the contest, picking up the set win 25-23.
The second set was almost a mirror image of the first, but even closer. Knotted 11 times in the set, UMBC looked poised to even the match, going up 24-20 on a tip by sophomore Emily Vandegrift (Leesburg, Va./Loudoun County). Albany however, ran off six straight points to take a 26-24 win.
In the third set, the Retrievers battled back after an early 7-3 deficit to pull within 8-6 after a kill by Tolliver. Living up to the reputation of the first two sets, the two squads battled throughout the third set. Eventually, Albany ended UMBC’s season for the third straight time, winning the third set 25-20.
Spaay and Kennedy’s stellar careers came to an end with each player ranking among the top ten in school history in assists and blocks, respectively. Spaay finished with 2,264 career assists, seventh in UMBC history, while Kennedy finished her career with 276 career block assists, finishing second on the Retrievers’ list.