West Hartford, CT. -- Sophomore setter Claudia Lopez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico/Academia Maria Reina) had a career-best 59 assists while redshirt freshman Lauren Mortimer (Queen Anne's, Md./Queen Anne's) added career highs of her own with 11 kills (.455 hitting percentage) and six blocks as the visiting UMBC Volleyball team (12-5, 3-2) edged Hartford in five sets (25-20, 25-21, 24-26, 19-25, 15-11) on Friday night.
"Hartford is not an easy place to play, and any time you get a road win, it's great," said Head Coach Ian Blanchard. "Credit to Hartford, they played one of their best matches of the season, and I was really proud of the way we grinded it out. Mortimer had great match, and Claudia was distributing the ball well. However, we know we've got to improve. We know we can execute better, and we plan to show that."
Senior Zoya Trendafilova (Sofia, Bulgaria/Elisaveta Bagryana) had a match-high 17 kills to go with six digs, three aces and a block, while junior Ashley Ramos (Orlando, Fla./Liberty/Monroe JC) tallied a double-double with 14 kills and 10 digs.
Junior Abbie Mirabella (Hockessin, Del./St.Mark's) chipped in with 12 kills and eight digs, sophomore libero Kristin Watson (Bowie, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt) had 24 digs, and freshman middle blocker Fran Reed (Aurora, Colo./Grand View) finished with nine kills, four aces and two blocks.
The first set was back-and-forth until Hartford (4-14, 1-4) took a 14-10 lead, UMBC would then end the set on a 15-6 run to go up 1-0. The Retrievers then led nearly the entire second set to go into the intermission up, 2-0.
A 3-0 Hawks run late in the third set, after UMBC got a service error on match point, kept Hartford alive and sent the match to a fourth set.
Hartford jumped out to a huge lead in the fourth, going up 12-4 early. But the Retrievers mounted a big rally and cut the deficit to 20-17 before the Hawks closed it out.
That forced a decisive fifth set, and Blanchard said UMBC had some momentum left over from their late rally in the fourth, which helped the Retrievers start well.
In the fifth, UMBC took an early 5-2 lead and eventually forced a Hartford time-out after extending the lead to 9-5. After that, the Hawks went on a three-point run that prompted UMBC to call its own time-out.
After the break, the Retrievers went on a 4-0 run for a 13-8 lead. Hartford then went on another 3-0 run, but a kill from Mortimer followed by one from Ramos gave the Retrievers the win.
UMBC continues the weekend road swing at America East foe UMass Lowell on Sunday. First serve is set for noon at Costello Athletic Center and can be watched on the America East Digital Network.