#retriever50for50 - '95 Volleyball Rallies to Capture Big South Title at UNCG

#retriever50for50 -  '95 Volleyball Rallies to Capture Big South Title at UNCG

The theme for the 1995 UMBC volleyball team was "unfinished business." After a perfect 8-0 Big South regular season mark in 1994, the Retrievers fell to rival Towson in the league semifinals. That set the stage for a dramatic evening in Greensboro., N.C., on Nov. 11, 1995, Moment No. 26 on the #retriever50for50 countdown.

UMBC earned the No. 2 seed in the 1995 Big South Tournament and got past Radford and Coastal Carolina to set up a showdown with top-seeded UNC Greensboro.

UMBC took a 2-1 lead, but the host Spartans rallied with a 15-6 win in set No. 4 to even the match and came within two points, 13-10, of the conference title. At that point, the UNCG public address announcer warned the Spartan fans not to charge the court after the match.

But Catherine Lavery's six had different ideas. The Retrievers scored the next five points to triumph, 15-13, and earn UMBC's first-ever league title at the NCAA Division I level.

"It was the best game I've ever been a part of," said Lavery, whose team finished the year at 25-9.

The team was led by a pair of precocious freshmen- setter LaNae Baker and outside hitter Lisa Cline. Baker, who came to UMBC from La Miranda, California, earned All-Tournament team honors by averaging nearly 13 assists per match, while Cline, a Maryland native, tabbed Big South Tournament MVP honors.

Middle hitter Dana Eberly, outside hitter Megan McNamara and right side hitter Sarah Hickert also played key roles on that squad.

UMBC fell in the NCAA Play-In game at Central Florida and fell short of a Big South title in 1996 and 1997. But in 1998, when Baker, Cline and McNamara were seniors, UMBC captured the Northeast Conference title in their first year in that conference and got to compete at USC in the program's only NCAA Tournament appearance.

Baker (2010) and Cline (2006) were both inducted into the UMBC Athletics Hall of Fame.