BALTIMORE – UMBC senior hitter Ali Goc (Oshawa, Ontario/R.S. McLaughlin) notched a career-high 18 kills and completed the double-double with 13 digs as the UMBC volleyball team earned a hard-fought five-set victory (22-25, 25-10, 18-25, 25-14, 15-12) against local rival Loyola (Md.), Saturday afternoon at Reitz Arena during the Radisson Cross Keys Greyhound Challenge.
In the second match of the day, junior Hannah Schmidt (Catonsville, Md./Mount de Sales) led the Retriever attack with 16 kills as UMBC swept LaSalle in three sets (25-6, 25-17, 25-15). Schmidt earned the double-double with a team-best 12 digs.
"I'm really pleased with our performance overall this weekend," said head coach Ian Blanchard. "The five-setter against Delaware last night could have gone either way, but the good thing is that some of the areas we talked about were the keys to our victory against Loyola.
"Before the LaSalle match I was concerned about a letdown, but the team really raised its game to another level and got another victory."
Against the Greyhounds, freshman libero Casey Griffith (King of Prussia, Pa./Upper Merion) matched her career-high with 25 digs for UMBC (3-4), while senior setter Mallory McIntyre (Winnipeg, Manitoba/St. Mary's) set a season-best with 43 assists. Griffith then picked up ten digs against LaSalle and McIntyre added 31 assists.
"Casey Griffith continues to prove that she'll be one of the best liberos in our conference," said Blanchard. "Both as a leader and her play on the court prove what she means to our team."
Faye Lukas and Jac Bullock paced Loyola (Md.) (2-4) with 14 kills each and Lauren Anderson dished out 44 assists and scooped up 13 digs.
In the opening set, the hosts took the early advantage by winning four of the first five points and then built a five-point lead at 8-3. UMBC came back though, and chipped away, knotting the frame up at 12-12 on a Greyhound attack error. The teams went back-and-forth until at 17-17 Loyola won three straight, and then held off the Retriever charge for a 25-22 set win.
The Retrievers turned the tables in the second period, running off five consecutive points twice to build a 10-2 lead. After Loyola scored four straight, UMBC answered with a 5-0 run capped by a McIntyre ace. The Hounds never won consecutive points again as the Retrievers ran away with a 25-10 set win heading to halftime.
The even play returned in the third set in the early going until the visitors ran off two 3-0 runs to create an 11-7 advantage. Loyola kept it close, however, eventually leveling the set at 14-14 on one of 14 kills by Faye Lukas. The Greyhounds used it as a springboard for an 8-2 run to build 22-16 lead and did not look back, winning the set 25-18.
The teams could not separate themselves in the early stages of the fourth, but then trailing 9-8, UMBC all but put the set away with an 11-0 run fueled by five Goc put-aways. The Retrievers then salted the frame away and forced a fifth set as an attack error gave the visitors the set, 25-14.
"Ali Goc really put the team on her back this weekend," Blanchard said. "Emotionally and physically she carried us and really stepped up her game."
The fifth set personified the match as neither UMBC nor Loyola could pull away early. The Greyhounds won two straight after an 8-8 tie, prompting a Retriever timeout. Following the stoppage in play, UMBC came out gunning and took seven of the final nine points, the last on a kill from Schmidt to complete to win, 15-12.
Against the LaSalle, UMBC built on the earlier match, outhitting the Explorers .364-.059 and picking up more digs 53-38.
The Retrievers took ownership of the match right away against LaSalle, using a 9-0 to turn a 4-2 advantage into a 13-2 cushion. Following an Explorer point, the Black and Gold claimed 12 of the next 16 points for a quick 25-6 first set win.
LaSalle put up a fight in the second stanza, winning five consecutive points to gain a 13-12 lead. An 11-0 run, powered by four Schmidt kills, restored UMBC's lead and the Retrievers won going away, 25-17.
In the third, UMBC won the opening ten points of the set and never let LaSalle get into it. Three straight Explorer points cut the lead to eight at 17-9, but a Schmidt kill cut the rally short and the Retrievers closed out the match with a 25-15 win.
UMBC now returns home to host beltway rival Towson on Tuesday, Sept. 10. The match at the RAC Arena is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. start.
- UMBC improves to 46-14-1 all-time vs. Loyola (Md.). The Retrievers have now won back-to-back matches in the series after the Greyhounds won the matchup in 2010.
- Each of the last five meetings between the schools has come during tournament play.
- Goc's 18 kills vs. Loyola bests her previous high of 17 which she set against Brown on Sept. 11, 2010.
- The Retrievers have now won six straight vs. LaSalle to take a 12-6 lead in the all-time series.