College Park, Md.-- Junior setter Krytsia Negron (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Colegio Adianez) had a match-high 31 assists along with 11 digs, but it wasn't enough as the UMBC Volleyball team fell in four sets (26-28, 25-17, 25-20, 25-18) to host Maryland to open the 2017 campaign on Friday night at the Maryland Invite tournament.
Red-shirt sophomore middle blocker Lauren Mortimer (Queen Anne's, Md./Queen Anne's) led the Retriever offense with 10 kills, while helping out defensively (six blocks). Junior libero Kristin Watson (Bowie, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt) tied for a match high with 15 digs. Watson, the defending America East Defensive Player of the Year, also had a solid match offensively, chipping in four assists and a kill.
UMBC (0-1) found itself down 8-2 early in the first set, but Mortimer lead a huge rally as the Retrievers eventually took a 16-15 lead after a kill by freshman outside hitter Carmen Freeman (Memphis, Tenn./St. Mary's). The teams continued to trade leads until the Terps (1-0) had set point at 24-22.
Mortimer then got a kill and then teamed up with Negron on a block to fight off the set point, and the Retrievers then rallied to win the set 28-26 after a Brooke Hayden (Mt. Airy, Md./Linganore) kill followed by a Maryland error.
Maryland jumped out to a big lead in the second set en route to a 25-17 victory and tied the match. The third set started tight, but UMBC would go on a big run, punctuated by a Freeman ace, and took a 16-10 lead. The Terps, however, responded with a 15-4 run and took the set 25-20.
The fourth set was similar to the previous one, as it was close early, and UMBC took a 12-9 lead thanks to three straight Terp errors. But Maryland would go on another big run and eventually scored a 25-18 victory and closed out the match.
Freeman, Hayden and senior Ashley Ramos (Orlando, Fla./Liberty/Monroe JC) all finished with six kills, while Negron added four kills and three blocks.
The Retrievers return to the court for the final day of the Maryland Invite on Saturday afternoon with two matches. UMBC will face Temple at 1 p.m. followed by a match with Northeastern at 4 p.m. Both matches can be viewed via live stream and live stats available at UMBCRetrievers.com. Fans can also follow along on Twitter by following @UMBCVolleyball.