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Three Retrievers with Double-Digit Kills as Volleyball Clinches Spot in America East Tournament with Four-Set Win at Stony Brook
Sophomore Hannah Schmidt
STONY BROOK, N.Y. – Sophomore Hannah Schmidt (Catonsville, Md./Mount de Sales) led a trio of Retrievers in double figures with 16 kills as the UMBC volleyball team clinched a berth in its fifth straight America East Championships with a four-set win over Stony Brook (27-25, 22-25, 25-14, 26-24), Friday afternoon at Pritchard Gymnasium. The win also marks the second straight year that the Retrievers clinched the berth in their final contest of the regular season after beating Providence in last year’s finale.
“Our girls stayed with it and stayed focused for the entire match,” said head coach Ian Blanchard. “I’m very proud of them and excited for what’s next.”
While UMBC (15-14, 8-4 America East) knows it will be in the conference tournament in Albany, N.Y., the team is unsure of its seed. With one Friday evening contest still to be played, the Retrievers are in second place, a half-game ahead of Binghamton (10-17, 7-4 AE) who does not play until a Sunday match at Stony Brook. New Hampshire (14-12, 6-4 AE) currently holds fourth place over Stony Brook (11-13, 6-5 AE).
Junior setter Mallory McIntyre (Winnipeg, Manitoba/St. Mary’s Academy) once again averaged over 10 assists per set as she spread the ball to five different attackers for a total of 44 assists. Senior Ali Loynachan (Whitby, Ontario/Sinclair) recorded nine kills while classmate Katie Kelly (Diamond Bar, Calif./Diamond Bar) added six. Overall UMBC outhit Stony Brook .280-.173 and recorded eight total blocks compared to six for the hosts.
“We’ve have a fairly balanced attack over the past few weeks and tonight I think we were balanced again,” Blanchard said. “That is something we’re striving to do. We want to show a couple different looks and show people that they have to shut down more than one of our players.”
On defense, UMBC received another stellar performance from junior Ali Goc (Oshawa, Ontario/R.S. McLaughlin) who scooped up a match-best 17 digs. Classmate Hallie Carter (Huntington Beach, Calif./Edison) contributed as well with 12 digs.
Stony Brook freshman Melissa Rigo led all hitters with 24 kills with junior Evann Slaughter (Clinton, Md./Oxon Hill) chipping in with 11 winners.
It was a cagey opening to the match in the first set as the teams tied a total of ten times, but only traded the lead twice. After a tie at 7-7, UMBC ran off two straight to open a two-point lead and maintained it, eventually building it to four points at 15-11. Stony Brook clawed back, however, leveling the set at 19-19 on a kill by Rigo, and then answered a quick Retriever run with one of its own to knot the set three more times, the final time at 23-23. UMBC then held off two set points, and eventually won three straight, the last on a Loynachan kill to take the first set, 27-25.
In the second frame, Stony Brook slowly built momentum and widened an early lead to three at 6-3 and again at 9-6. UMBC fought to tie the set at 9-9 and again at 10-10, but Stony Brook won six of the next eight points for a 16-12 lead. After the lead grew to five at 20-15, UMBC won five straight to level the set, but the Seawolves answered with five of the next seven to tie the match at a set apiece.
The Retrievers were the ones to open a lead early in the third, winning the first three points, holding it level at 12-9. Stony Brook could not manage to win two points in a row for the remainder of the set as UMBC ran off two streaks of three-straight points, in addition to a 4-0 run, to win the set going away, 25-14.
Up two sets to one, UMBC looked to close out the Seawolves early, turning an early 3-2 deficit into an 8-3 lead with six straight points behind the serving of junior Robbin Lee (Olney, Md./Sherwood). The lead grew to eight, 17-9, after five consecutive Stony Brook attack errors, but the hosts responded by winning eight of the next nine to pull within one, 18-17 The Seawolves tied the match at 21-21 and held another set point, but just like the first set, UMBC won the final three to claim the road win.
UMBC now waits to hear its seed in next week’s tournament which will be hosted by regular season champion Albany.
- With the win, UMBC cuts Stony Brook’s lead in the all-time series to 11-10.
- After falling to the Seawolves five straight times, the Retrievers won both meetings this year to sweep the season series.