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McIntyre Selected as Co-Setter of the Year; Three Others Honored on America East All-Conference Teams
Junior Mallory McIntyre
Senior Ali Loynachan
Freshman Krystal Mlemchukwu
Freshman Sherelle Wallker
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – UMBC junior setter Mallory McIntyre (Winnipeg, Manitoba/St. Mary’s Academy) was selected as the America East Co-Setter of the Year, sharing the honor with Binghamton’s Amanda Dettmann, the conference office announced on Thursday afternoon. McIntyre also earned a spot on the All-Conference First Team while Dettmann was slotted on the Second Team. The junior is the first UMBC setter to win the award since the Retrievers joined the America East in 2003.
In addition to McIntyre, three other Retrievers earned all-conference honors. Freshmen Krystal Mlemchukwu (Baltimore, Md./Western Tech) and Sherelle Walker (New Freedom, Pa./Susquehannock) garnered a spot on both the All-Conference Second Team as well as the All-Rookie squad, while senior Ali Loynachan (Whitby, Ontario/Sinclair) joined her teammates on the All-Conference Second Team.
McIntyre received her honors after having a career year in just her first season as the Retrievers’ primary setter. After recovering from an early season injury, the junior reclaimed the starting spot and never relinquished it, en route to leading UMBC to a 15-14 overall record and 8-4 mark in conference play.
“I’m happy to see Mallory be recognized for her accomplishments so far this season,” said head coach Ian Blanchard. “I don’t know anyone who has worked harder in the gym to get better at what she does. From the mechanics of setting to everything else on the court, she has upped everything, especially her leadership.”
For the year, McIntyre handed out 677 assists, good for a 9.81 assists per set average which ranks just percentage points behind Dettmann’s average for the league lead. In addition, she scooped up 131 digs which helped her record four double-doubles on the year, the second-highest total on the team.
“When your setter wins co-setter of the year it says a lot about your entire team,” Blanchard said. “It says a lot about your ability to pass and also to attack so it’s an honor that extends through the entire team. “
For Loynachan, the postseason conference recognition is the second of her career after landing on the All-Rookie Team in 2009. In her final season in Baltimore, Loynachan picked up a career-high 224 digs and also surpassed her previous high by registering 18 service aces. Heading into this weekend’s conference tournament, Loynachan is hitting a career-best .208 to go along with 140 kills, just 12 off of her pace of 152 set last season.
“I’m also happy for Krystal, Ali, and Sherelle, particularly Ali since this is her first time on the all-conference team,” said Blanchard. “She had her best season ever all-around at UMBC. Her hitting and passing both continued to improve and she continues to be a good blocker and defender.”
With Mlemchukwu and Walker both receiving a slot on the All-Rookie Team, in addition to the All-Conference Second Team, UMBC has now had at least one athlete on the newcomer list for each of the past eight seasons.
“It’s good to see the two rookies get recognized and I hope it speaks to how good we can be as they continue to improve,” Blanchard said.
Mlemchukwu burst onto the scene this season for the Retrievers after redshirting her first year. The Western Tech product finished the regular season second on the team and tenth in the league with a .243 hitting efficiency. Mlemchukwu also notched 197 kills, the third-most for the Retrievers, while stuffing a team-best 92 blocks, including 86 block assists which sits as the seventh-highest season total in UMBC history.
Walker joins her classmate on the Second Team and All-Rookie squads after leading the Retriever offense most of the season. The freshman outside hitter recorded the fourth-highest single match kill performances of the season for UMBC, topping the 20-kill plateau three times. In all, Walker totaled 280 kills in her first campaign for a 3.15 kills per set average, the sixth-best mark in the America East. She also completed the regular season with a .247 hitting percentage, best on the team and third in the conference.
UMBC continues its season as the No. 3-seed in this weekend’s America East Championships and faces the No. 2-seeded Binghamton Bearcats in the first semifinal on Friday, Nov. 16 at 4:00 p.m. The winner of the match advances to the conference championship to play the winner of the No. 1-seed Albany vs. No. 4-seed New Hampshire semifinal, with a bid to the NCAA Tournament up for grabs.