Balanced Offense Leads Volleyball to Sweep of UMass Lowell; Watson Nominated for AE Fans' Choice Award

Balanced Offense Leads Volleyball to Sweep of UMass Lowell; Watson Nominated for AE Fans' Choice Award

BALTIMORE -- Three players reached double-digit kills as the UMBC Volleyball team (17-7, 8-3) swept UMass Lowell (25-20, 25-20, 25-23) in an America East match on Friday night at The RAC.

With other results Friday night, UMBC is now locked into the No. 3 seed due to tiebreakers in next week's America East tournament and will face second-seeded Albany. New Hampshire, as the first seed, will host the tournament. However, UMBC can still earn a share of the regular season title with a win on Saturday and a UNH loss on Sunday.

The Retrievers can also clinch a tie for second overall with a win against Hartford. They'll want to have another performance like this one.

"We had a really well-balanced offense tonight," Head Coach Ian Blanchard said. There have been a lot of things that we have worked on improving in our execution throughout the season, and I am really happy that we have been able to put together a few really solid offensive matches."

Outside hitters Ashley Ramos (Orlando, Fla./Liberty/Monroe JC) and Zoya Trendafilova (Sofia, Bulgaria/Elisaveta Bagryana) led the way 13 and 11 kills, respectively, while freshman middle blocker Franchesca Reed (Aurora, Colo./Grand View) tied her career high with 12 kills on a .400 hitting percentage.

Just days removed from winning her fourth America East Defensive Specialist of the Week award, Kristin Watson (Bowie, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt) finished with a game-high 13 kills. Earlier in the day, the conference announced that Watson was nominated for Fans' Choice Player of the Year. Fans can vote at AEFansChoice.com.

Sophomore setter Krytsia Negron (San Juan, Puerto Rico /Colegio Adianez) had a game-high 39 assists, four more than the entire UMass Lowell (6-21, 1-10) team combined. Junior middle blocker Marissa Duncan (Ellicott City, Md./Mount Hebron) continued her steady play as of late, finishing with six kills. The team captain hit .357 and also added a solo block.

Red-shirt freshman middle blocker Lauren Mortimer (Queen Anne's, Md./Queen Anne's) tallied four kills and no errors on seven attacks (.571), while Negron, Trendafilova and Brooke Hayden (Mt. Airy, Md./ Linganore) all had seven digs.

Negron also chipped in three kills and a block.

It will be a quick turnaround for the Retrievers as they will host Hartford on Saturday at 5 p.m. for Senior Night. The match will be the annual "RAC OUT BLACK OUT" and the first 100 fans receive a free "RAC in Black" T-shirt. Fans who can't make it to The RAC can watch the video stream on UMBCRetrievers.TV