Baltimore, Md.—The UMBC women's volleyball squad (7-8, 1-1 AE) returns to the RAC this weekend for a pair of America East contests. The Retrievers will play host to UMass Lowell (2-18, 0-3 AE) on Friday, before hosting New Hampshire (9-11, 2-1 AE) on Sunday.
Last Time Out:
The Retrievers come into the weekend having split their previous two matches at Stony Brook and Hartford. UMBC fell to the Seawolves in four sets, but bounced back nicely, winning at hard fought five set match with the Hawks. Senior Hannah Schmidt (Catonsville, Md./Mount de Sales) paced the Retriever attack with 19 kills against Hartford.
Scouting the Retrievers (7-8, 1-1 AEC):
UMBC comes into the matches with UMass Lowell and New Hampshire at 7-8, 1-1 AE on the year. This will be just the third home match of the year for the Retrievers. UMBC dropped the first two by 3-0 scores to Eastern Michigan and Coppin State.
Redshirt junior Krystal Mlemchukwu (Baltimore, Md./Western Tech) leads the team with 138 kills, good for 2.65 a set. Schmidt is a close second with 130 kills, good for a 2.36 clip.
Junior Paige Miller (Reading, Pa./Schuylkill Valley) paces the squad with 484 assists on the year. Miller sits in fourth in the conference with 8.80 assists per set.
Climbing the Charts:
Senior outside hitter Hannah Schmidt (Catonsville, Md./Mount de Sales) climbed into ninth in all-time kills with 968, following her 27 kills this past weekend. She trails Joanne Marshall by 20 for eighth place, and needs just 32 more to reach 1,000.
Rojas En Fuego:
Freshman Paola Rojas (San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico/Notre Dame) earned America East Rookie of the Week honors on October 6. Rojas made a huge splash in her first two collegiate games, laying down a combined 22 kills against Stony Brook and Hartford. The rook also added 14 digs and four blocks last weekend.
Freshman Abbie Mirabella (Hockessin, Del./St. Mark's) has started off her collegiate career with a bang. Mirabella has already garnered America East Rookie of the Week honors, while also leading the team in service aces. The rook has 21 aces so far this year, good for first in the conference.
The Retrievers have played 13 of their 15 matches this season away from the friendly confines of the RAC. In those 13 games (six away, seven neutral), UMBC is a combined 7-6 (3-3 away, 4-3 neutral). The Retrievers will finish up the year with six of their final ten matches coming at home.
During the non-conference portion of the schedule, the Retrievers traveled over 9,000 miles between all 11 matches away from the RAC. UMBC traveled to UMES for the Hawks Hullabaloo Tournament to open the season, before heading to the Rocky Mountains to take part in the BYU Tournament in Provo, Utah. Most recently, the team went to the Arizona desert to participate in the Wildcat Classic and finished up the road swing at Howard last weekend.
UMBC has taken on three teams that were nationally ranked so far this year. The Retrievers played then No. 10 BYU and No. 5 Washington at the BYU Invitational before taking on No. 21 Arizona at the Wildcat Classic.
Scouting the River Hawks (2-18, 0-3 AEC):
UMass Lowell comes into the matchup with UMBC at 2-18 overall, and in search of their first conference win. The River Hawks are coming off a 3-0 loss to Binghamton on Sunday.
Ella Merrill leads the squad with 169 winners on the year. Merrill is hitting at a 2.49 clip for the River Hawks. Not far behind her is Masha Yelsukova with 167 kills (2.49 per set).
Kylee Chun is the main setter for UMass Lowell. Chun has 487 helpers on the year, and is averaging 7.16 assists per set.
This will be the third matchup all-time between the two schools. UMBC holds a 2-0 advantage, winning both matches a year ago. The Retrievers won both matches by a score of 3-0.
Scouting the Wildcats (9-11, 2-1 AEC):
New Hampshire comes into the match on Sunday at 9-11, 2-1 in the America East. The Wildcats have most recently dropped a 3-0 decision to Albany this past Sunday. The Great Danes took advantage of 24 Wildcat attack errors to defeat the defending champs.
Tori Forrest leads the charge for New Hampshire with 190 kills. She is averaging a blistering 3.06 kills per set, which is good for third in the conference.
Taylor Dunklau will be the main set up man for the Wildcats. Dunklau has 618 helpers, good for a 9.36 assists per set clip. She trails only Jackie Tamburri of Hartford in that category.
This will be the 24th time the two sides square off, with UNH holding a 14-9 advantage. The Wildcats swept the season series last year, including a hard fought 3-2 win in the America East Tournament Finals.
On The Horizon:
UMBC returns to the court on October 17 and 19, when they make the trip up to New York to take on Albany and Binghamton. The match with the Great Danes is set for 7:00 p.m. on Friday, and 1:00 p.m. on Sunday against the Bearcats.