Baltimore, MD --The freshmen duo of outside hitters Carmen Freeman (Memphis, Tenn./St. Mary's) and Elayna Williams (Ellicott City, Md./Mt.Hebron) combined for 26 kills to rally the UMBC Volleyball team (10-7, 2-1 America East) to a 3-1 (21-25, 25-18, 25-23, 25-23) victory over Binghamton (5-12, 2-2 AE) in front of a raucous RAC Arena crowd Friday night.
Sophomore middle blocker Franchesca Reed (Aurora, Colo./Grand View) had a career-high 10 blocks to go with 7 kills (.385 hitting percentage) and four aces. The 10 blocks were the most by a Retriever since 2014, and only the 14th time in program history someone recorded double-digit blocks in a single match.
Freeman finished with 16 kills and nine digs, while Elayna Williams had a career-high 10 kills in her first career start. Junior Krytsia Negron (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Colegio Adianez) provided a match-best 45 assists, while classmate Kristin Watson (Bowie, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt) had a match-high 20 digs.
Junior Paola Rojas (San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico/Notre Dame) added in 12 kills and eight blocks, while senior middle blocker Marissa Duncan (Ellicott City, Md./Mt.Hebron) came in midway through the third set and finished with three kills (.600 hitting percentage) four blocks and a dig.
"I'm really proud of our effort tonight," said head coach Ian Blanchard. "Binghamton poses different challenges and I thought we had a good game plan in place to try and counter some of their strengths. We blocked well and several people really stepped up at crucial times."
The first set was tight throughout, with neither team holding a lead higher than four points. UMBC battled back multiple times to tie the set, but a 4-1 Binghamton run closed out the set to give the Bearcats the early advantage.
UMBC got out to fast start in the second set, leading 6-2 with kills from Rojas and Freeman, but Binghamton responded with an 8-2 run to take a 10-8 lead. A kill from Williams then sparked a 6-2 run for the Retrievers to give them a 14-12 lead. Binghamton would tie the match up two points later, but UMBC would respond with a 10-4 run to close out the set 25-18, which included four kills from Freeman and one from Williams.
The third set featured runs from both sides, as Binghamton opened with a 3-0 lead, but the Retrievers responded with an 8-0 run of their own. UMBC would then fend off a 7-1 Bearcats run, in which Binghamton tied the set at 12-12. Both sides would then trade points, with Binghamton taking a 23-22. The Retrievers would take the set, after two kills from Williams, including the set point, as well as a kill from Rojas.
The Bearcats jumped out to an 11-5 lead in the fourth set before UMBC used a 7-1 run to tie the match. Binghamton again went on a run and eventually took an 18-15 lead, but the Retrievers went on a 9-2 run of their own to get match point. After the Bearcats fought off three match points, Freeman put down a kill to end the set and match.
UMBC has a short turnaround as they welcome Albany to The RAC on Sunday for a 1 p.m. match to kick off homecoming festivities.