Volleyball Heads to Arizona for the Wildcat Classic This Weekend

Volleyball Heads to Arizona for the Wildcat Classic This Weekend

Tournament Central

Baltimore, Md.—The UMBC volleyball team will head to Tucson to take part in the Wildcat Classic, hosted by the University of Arizona. The Retrievers will take on Tulane and Coppin State on Friday, September 19, before facing #20 Arizona on Saturday. All games will be live streamed online.

Opening Serve: UMBC is coming into the Wildcat Classic on a five game losing skid. The Retrievers fell, 3-0, against Eastern Michigan and Coppin State at the Maddie Bingaman Memorial Tournament this past weekend. Senior Hannah Schmidt (Catonsville, Md./Mount de Sales) led the team with 16 kills over the two day event, adding 14 digs.

Freshman Abbie Mirabella (Hockessin, Del./St. Mark's) continued her strong rookie season, adding 13 kills for UMBC last weekend. Mirabella is third on the team with 68 kills on the year. She leads the team and the America East Conference with 19 service aces.

Scouting the Green Wave: Tulane comes in the match with the Retrievers at 1-8 on the year, having lost their most recent match with FAU.

Sarah Ray is the team leader with 90 kills, averaging just a shade over three per set. Tea Juric has chipped in 66 winners for the Green Wave.

Coming out of the American Athletic Conference, Tulane's lone victory came back on September 11. The Green Wave knocked off Southeastern Louisiana in three sets.

Inside the Series: The Green Wave and the Retrievers have never met prior to the match on Friday.  

Scouting the Eagles: Coppin State comes into the weekend at 5-5 on the year. The Eagles went 1-1 this past weekend at the Maddie Bingaman Memorial Tournament.

Cindy Okpegbue has been stellar so far for the Eagles, laying down 169 kills on the young season. This is good for second most in all of Division I.

Not to be outdone is Ariel Richard. Richard has also hit triple digits in kills with 115. Together, Richard and Okpegbue account for 60 percent of the Eagle offense.

Inside the Series: UMBC leads the all-time series at 14-1-1, with the lone loss coming this past weekend. The Retrievers are 5-1 in the previous six matchups, winning those five matches by scores of 3-0.

Scouting the Wildcats: #20 Arizona comes into the contest at 8-1, and winners of their last two out of the Pac-12. The lone blemish for the Wildcats came against #2 Texas, back on September 12 in Austin.

Madi Kingdon provides the offense for Arizona, having laid down 175 kills thus far. Penina Snuka paces the Wildcats with over 220 helpers on the year. Arizona is boasting eighteenth best hitting percentage in the nation.

Inside the Series: The Retrievers and Wildcats will be meeting for the first time on Saturday.

On the Horizon: Following the west coast road swing, UMBC will head back east for a match against Howard on Friday, September 26. The match with the Bison begins at 7:00 p.m. The Retrievers open America East play at Stony Brook the following Friday.

Tournament Notes:

- UMBC will be taking on two first time opponents in Tulane and Arizona.

- Freshman Abbie Mirabella twentieth nationally with 19 service aces on the year.

- The Retrievers are 0-5 lifetime against Pac-12 opponents. UMBC has faced Colorado and Southern California once, and Washington three times. USC defeated UMBC 3-0 back in 1998 at the NCAA Tournament First Round. Washington has defeated the Retrievers three times, with the most recent coming at the BYU Invitational earlier this month. UMBC took Colorado to the brink two years ago at the Maddie Bingaman Tournament. The Buffs won a thrilling 3-2 affair in Baltimore.

- The tournament features two of the top outside hitters in the nation in Arizona's Madi Kingdon and Coppin State's Cindy Okpegbue. Both Kingdon (175) and Okpegbue (169) are in the top fifteen nationally in total kills. Kingdon ranks second in kills per set at a 6.03 clip.