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Well-Rounded Attack Propels UMBC Volleyball to Four-Set Win Over Hartford
Junior Hannah Schmidt
BALTIMORE – UMBC junior hitter Hannah Schmidt pounded down 15 kills and picked up 11 digs for her fourth double-double of the season and the Retrievers rallied from a set down to defeat Hartford in four sets (22-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-21), Friday evening in America East play at the RAC Arena.
“It was just another grind-out victory for us,” said head coach Ian Blanchard. “We started serving a little better in the second set… and we got some big performances from Emily [Witsaman], Hannah [Schmidt], and Sherelle [Walker] tonight.”
Senior middle Emily Witsaman (Medina, Ohio/Medina) tied for the match-high and led UMBC (13-8, 4-2 AE) with 17 kills while sophomore hitter Sherelle Walker (New Freedom, Pa./Susquehannock) contributed 15 put-aways in the victory. Schmidt and Witsaman each recorded five block assists against the Hawks and UMBC registered 10.0 blocks to Hartford’s 5.0.
For Hartford (8-14, 2-4 AE), freshman Corinne Horanzy sent down a career-high 17 kills and junior Sareeta Nethersole added 13 winners while registering 12 digs for the double-double.
The first set was a tight affair as the two squads traded the lead three times and were level on six occasions. After Hartford used a 4-0 run to retake the lead and build a two-point cushion, 14-12, the Retrievers won six of the next eight to grab the lead back, 18-16. UMBC led 19-18 after a kill from Goc, but the Hawks put together one last streak and won the first set, 25-22.
The Retrievers answered by opening the second frame on a 5-1 run, but the visitors answered back to level the set at 9-9 on a kill by Dionna Kirton. UMBC looked to put the set away and draw level in the match, building a four-point lead, 14-10, courtesy of a 5-1 run punctuated by a kill from Witsaman. Hartford did not go away, however, and grabbed the lead, 17-15. From there, though, the hosts took control, finishing the set hitting .429 behind 13 assists from senior Mallory McIntyre (Winnipeg, Manitoba/St. Mary’s Academy). UMBC went on to pull even with a 25-22 set win and McIntyre finished the match with 53 assists.
Each team went on a run to open the third set, but eventually a 6-2 UMBC stretch midway through the frame gave the Retrievers the push they needed. After sophomore Krystal Mlemchukwu (Baltimore, Md./Western Tech) smashed a winner, Witsaman followed with a put-away to give UMBC a six-point cushion, 18-12. Hartford chipped away at the lead and cut it to 22-18, but the Retrievers held their guests at bay, claiming the third set, 25-21, on a kill by Schmidt.
UMBC continued its momentum into the fourth set, winning the first three sets behind strong serving from Schmidt. The Hawks rallied quickly though, snatching the lead at 5-4 and tried to force a fifth set. Down by two, 14-12, Witsaman sparked a quick 3-0 run, and UMBC never trailed again. At 17-17, back-to-back kills from Schmidt and Goc put the hosts up for good as they finished off the match, 25-21, on a block by Witsaman and McIntyre.
UMBC now plays host to Providence on Sunday at the RAC Arena. The match between the Retrievers and Friars is scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m.
- The Retrievers have now defeated the Hawks in four consecutive matches and lead the all-time series 21-2 with a 19-2 advantage in America East contests.
- Schmidt is now tied with McIntyre for second on the team with four double-doubles this season. Goc holds the team lead with nine.