Baltimore -- Three Retrievers tallied at least 10 kills as the UMBC volleyball team defeated Delaware State in four sets (25-16, 25-21, 21-25, 25-17) to claim the Charm City Challenge title on Saturday afternoon at The RAC.
Junior Abbie Mirabella (Hockessin, Del./St.Mark's) and freshmen Brooke Hayden (Mt.Airy, Md/Linganore) and Emily Panchak (Wilmington, Del./Concord/Wichita State) notched 18, 11 and 10 kills, respectively, to lead the UMBC offense in the victory.
"We discuss the importance of being able to play ugly in practice. Being able to scramble, come up with tough swings in difficult situations," Head coach Ian Blanchard said. "I thought we were able to do that successfully this weekend. Often times the team that can better grind through the tough points wins the match. But, I am proud of our effort overall."
Kristin Watson (Bowie, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt) had 21 digs and was named the tournament's MVP. Teammates Zoya Trendafilova (Sofia, Bulgaria/Elisaveta Bagryana) and Claudia Lopez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico/Academia Maria Reina) also earned spots on the All-Tournament team.
"We did a lot of really great things this weekend, and all of it started through Kristin Watson," Blanchard said. "She was outstanding in both serve receive and defense all weekend long. It is not often we get to recognize the huge importance of our defensive specialists. They all work so hard in practice every day. But no one ever outworks or out hustles Kristin. Her improvement between this season and last year is off the charts."
UMBC also beat Loyola and Akron in its first two matches of the tournament.
This victory was the team's third in a row and improved their record to 5-2, their best start since 2008.
Charm City Challenge All-Tournament Team
MVP: Kristin Watson (UMBC)
Zoya Trendafilova (UMBC)
Claudia Lopez (UMBC)
Ann Ernst (Loyola)
Stacey Kazalas (Loyola)
Patience Brown (Akron)
Alliyah McBean (Delaware State)