Provo, Utah—The UMBC volleyball team dropped their first match of the season, 3-0, at the hands of Utah Valley University on Friday night. Krystal Mlemchukwu (Baltimore, Md./Western Tech) paced the Retrievers with seven kills. UMBC falls to 4-1 on the year.
Set one went back and forth early, with junior Sherelle Walker (New Freedom, Pa./Susquehannok) getting the scoring started with a kill. From there, neither team could establish a solid sized lead, until the Retrievers put together a three point run. Walker's serve forced a ball handling error, which gave UMBC a 6-5 lead. Walker then put down an ace, followed by an attack error gave UMBC an 8-5 lead.
The set went back and forth before Utah Valley finished off the set with three straight kills. Kalani Norris, and Nakisha Willden finished off the set, winning 28-26.
The second set saw UMBC jump out ahead, 3-1 thanks in part to a pair of kills by Abbie Mirabella (Hockessin, Del./St. Mark's) and Ivana Kostic (Belgrade, Serbia/Srednja Skola Grocka). Much like the first set, each team made a run to overtake the lead. The Wolverines took control of the set, going on an 8-1 run to take a 16-12 lead. The Retrievers rallied late, fighting back to tie the set at 18 all to force a Utah Valley timeout. From there, the Wolverines closed out the set on a 7-0 run to win the second set 25-18.
The Wolverines got out fast in the third, getting out to a 3-0 lead. UMBC went straight back on the offensive, tying the game off a Mirabella service ace. This would be the theme of the set, as neither team got out to more than a three point lead. UVU took a commanding 19-13 lead. The Retrievers made a late push, reducing the deficit to only two at 23-21 after a trio of Wolverine errors. However it was not enough as the Wolverines went on to win the set 25-22 and the match 3-0.
Mlemchukwu led the way with seven kills, including three blocks. Walker chipped in six kills and one service ace, while Kostic and Mirabella each had five kills.
UMBC concludes the west coast trip against #10 BYU (2:00 p.m.) and #5 Washington (7:00 p.m.) tomorrow from the BYU Invitational.