Baltimore, Md.—UMBC volleyball travels to Binghamton on Friday and Albany on Sunday in their final two road contest of the year. The Retrievers are coming off a 3-0 win against UMass Lowell on Sunday, and are riding a three game winning streak. A win against the Bearcats will clinch a spot for UMBC in the America East Tournament in a couple weeks. The Retrievers come into the weekend at 11-11, 5-3 AE.
Binghamton Match Info:
What: UMBC vs. Binghamton Bearcats
When: Friday, Nov. 6 – 7:00 p.m.
Where: West Gym – Vestal, N.Y.
How to Watch: Video at americaeast.tv and Live Stats at bubearcats.com
Albany Match Info:
What: UMBC vs. UAlbany Great Danes
When: Sunday, Nov. 8 – 2:00 p.m.
Where: University Gym – Albany, N.Y.
How to Watch: Video at americaeast.tv and Live Stats at ualbanysports.com
Last Time Out:
UMBC earned their third straight victory, 3-0 against UMass Lowell last Sunday. Senior Sherelle Walker (New Freedom, Pa./Susquehannock) had a breakout performance, with 11 kills on 14 swings for a hitting percentage of .786. The Pennsylvania native added six blocks in the contest as she moved into the top ten in both assisted blocks (seventh, 200) and total blocks (tenth, 229).
The Retrievers held the River Hawks to just a .127 hitting percentage, using ten total blocks to move to 11-11, 5-3 AE on the year, and 6-3 at the RAC.
UMBC is riding a three game win streak, and enter the weekend at 11-11, 5-3 AE on the year. The Retrievers are .500 for the first time since September 19 when they were 6-6 following their match at American.
Freshman Makenzie Morgen (Appleton, Wisc./Appleton East) leads the team on offense with 241 kills. She is averaging a team best 3.05 per set and has six double-doubles, including a stretch of three straight from October 9-16. A pair of Retrievers handles the setting duties in freshman Krytsia Negron (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Colegio Adianez) and redshirt freshman Claudia Lopez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico/Academia Maria Reina). Lopez leads the team with 357 helpers while Negron is right behind her with 314.
At the net, sophomore Marissa Duncan (Ellicott City, Md./Mount Hebron) has had a breakout campaign, leading UMBC with 72 total blocks. Duncan has contributed 56 kills and three aces on the year as the Retrievers rank 54th nationally in aces per set with 1.49.
Scouting the Bearcats:
Binghamton enters the match at 6-18, 3-6 AE on the year, after knocking off Hartford in four sets on Sunday. Freshman Gabby Alicea led the way with 14 kills, adding five aces for the Bearcats in the win.
Alicea leads the Bearcat attack with 201 kills on the year. Her 2.39 kills per set leads the team, while she also leads the team in service aces with 26, averaging 0.31 per set. Sophomore Sarah Ngo is the main setter for Binghamton, and has 816 helpers in 2015, averaging 8.77 per set. Kristella Morina is the team leader in blocks with 81 on the year.
Scouting the Great Danes:
Albany enters the match with UMBC as one of the hottest teams in the league, having won their last seven matches, dating back to October 4. Most recently, the Great Danes defeated league leader New Hampshire in straight sets up in Durham. The loss for New Hampshire was their first in league play in 19 matches.
The Great Danes are led by Laini Leindecker with 290 kills on the season. Leindecker is averaging 3.62 kills per set on 970 swings. Mikala McCauley sets up the attack with 740 assists, good for 9.25 a set. Amanda Dolan is the team leader in blocks, with a league best 95 blocks and 1.19 per set average.
Binghamton leads the all-time series with UMBC, 18-12, with the Bearcats winning two of the last three. The Retrievers won the match earlier this year, 3-1.
The Great Danes and Retrievers have met 31 times before Sunday, with Albany holding a 24-7 lead in the all-time series. However UMBC has won five of the last seven dating back to 2012. Albany won the match earlier this year, 3-2. Both sides fought back and forth, but Albany won the final two sets to take the win.
Freshmen Leading the Way:
Comprising 58% of the Retriever roster, the freshman class has come in and made an immediate impact in 2015. Led by a pair of outside hitters in Makenzie Morgen (Appleton, Wisc./Appleton) and Maddie Schneider (Olathe, Kan./Olathe Northwest), the Retrievers currently sit in the final spot for the America East Tournament. Both Morgen and Schneider have won America East Rookie of the Week twice. Joining Schneider and Morgen are setter Krytsia Negron (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Colegio Adianez) and libero Carola De Jesus (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Academia Maria Reina).
As a whole, ten of the eleven has seen action this year.
On the Horizon:
UMBC will close out the regular season against Hartford (Friday, Nov. 13) and New Hampshire (Sunday, Nov. 15). The match with the Wildcats will serve as Senior Day, where the Retrievers will honor Sherelle Walker, Krystal Williams, and Paige Miller prior to the match.