Baltimore, Md.—UMBC volleyball will kick off the 2015 season at the Robert Morris Invitational on Friday, Aug. 28 against the host Colonials (6:00 p.m.). The following day the Retrievers will take on local-rival Loyola (Md.) at 11:00 a.m. and RMU once more at 2:30 p.m. Head coach Ian Blanchard will lead the team for the 11th time, as they look to improve on their 10-15, 4-8 AE record a year ago.
What: The Robert Morris Invitational
When: Friday, Aug. 28-Saturday, Aug. 29
Who: Robert Morris, UMBC, Loyola (Md.), Canisius
Where: Charles L. Sewall Center- Moon Township, Pa.
How to Watch: Games involving RMU will be streamed on NECfrontrow.com, live stats also available for all matches.
Quick Hits on 2014:
UMBC finished the 2014 campaign at 10-15, 4-8 AE, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2007. Senior Sherelle Walker (New Freedom, Pa./Susquhannock) earned second team all-conference honors, while sophomores Marissa Duncan (Ellicott City, Md./Mount Hebron) and Paola Rojas (San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico/Notre Dame) earned spots on the all-rookie team.
The Retrievers graduated three players in Tanaeri Santiago, Kristen Cooper and Hannah Schmidt. Schmidt became just the eighth player in program history to record 1,000 kills in a career. Schmidt recorded number 1,000 against Binghamton back in October.
Blanchard also hit a milestone in 2014, when he got win 150 in his career against UMass Lowell in late October.
Scouting the Colonials:
Robert Morris comes into 2015 after falling short in the NEC Championship match last year. The Colonials finished the season with a 15-17 overall record, and a 12-2 record in conference.
The Colonials had five players over 100 kills last year, with three of them returning for 2015. Junior Arden Fisher led the team in kills with 251, hitting at a 2.39 clip. April Krivoniak (165) and Kristin Thompson (161) also return for RMU after recording 100 kills in 2014.
Scouting the Greyhounds:
Loyola comes into the new year after finishing 2-27, 0-16 Patriot League last season. Alija Pittenger will start her first season at the helm of Loyola against the Retrievers on Saturday.
Junior Jane Lukas set the pace for the Greyhounds in 2014, registering 312 kills. Lukas averaged 3.25 kills per set to go along with 17 service aces. Sophomore Molly Cichosz led the squad, hitting at a 3.33 clip last year.
The Colonials and Retrievers have met 12 times before, with each side winning six times. UMBC won the last meeting, 3-0, back in 2012. The last time UMBC was in Moon Township, the Colonials came away with a 3-1 win in 2001, when UMBC was a member of the Northeast Conference.
Loyola and UMBC have squared off 63 times prior to the weekend, with the Retrievers holding a 46-14-1 record over the Greyhounds. UMBC took home a 3-2 victory at Loyola the last time the two met in 2013. The Greyhounds took a 3-0 victory back in 2010. Prior to that, the last UMBC loss came in 1992.
Following the Robert Morris Invitational, the Retrievers will head north to participate in the UConn Dog Pound Challenge. UMBC will face fellow canine rivals UConn, James Madison and Bryant on Sept. 4-5 in Storrs.
Make sure to follow UMBC Athletics on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @UMBCAthletics with the hashtag #GritAndGlory. Also be sure to keep up to date with UMBC volleyball on Twitter @umbcvolleyball with the hashtags #ForTheFam and #YearOfTheDawg.