Baltimore, MD – The UMBC Volleyball team (13-8, 5-2 America East) dropped their first match in three weeks, falling to Albany (25-18, 25-22, 20-25, 25-15) on Sunday afternoon in a battle for first-place in the conference.
Junior libero Kristin Watson (Bowie, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt) lead the Retrievers on defense with a match-best 27 digs, tying her second highest total for the season. Sophomore Franchesca Reed (Aurora, Colo./Grand View) led UMBC on offense with 13 kills, hitting .314. Reed also recorded a match-high six blocks.
Freshman Becca Elrod (Cary, Ill./Cary-Grove Community) recorded her first career kill in the first set.
"I liked the fight we showed throughout the match. This team continues to fight hard for every point regardless of the circumstances. It has become the trademark of this unit," said head coach Ian Blanchard. "That type of character trait is symbolic of all good teams. Hopefully some of our players who have been out will get healthy soon. As we get back to full strength I am confident that we will make the adjustments we need to in order to be successful."
Albany (6-13, 6-1 AE) began the opening set on a 6-1 run and did not allow UMBC to take the lead throughout the set. UMBC went on a 5-0 run late to cut the lead to five points at 23-18, but a kill and an ace gave Albany the first set. The 5-0 run included a kill and an ace from Reed, and a kill from Paola Rojas (San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico/Notre Dame).
The second set featured multiple runs early from UMBC of 4-0 and 5-0 to give them a 10-6 lead, but Albany would respond with an 8-1 run of their own to retake the lead. Another 5-0 run for UMBC would give them the lead again in the set. The run included a kill from Reed. Albany would close out the set with the last two points to stop a 3-0 Retrievers run and take the set.
The third set began with both teams going on a 5-0 run, which included kills from senior captain Marissa Duncan (Ellicott City, Md./Mt. Hebron), Reed, and two from freshman Carmen Freeman (Memphis, Tenn./St. Mary's). UMBC would not allow Albany to take the lead the entire set, as they would pull away slowly throughout the set. UMBC would go on a decisive 4-0 run with kills from Rojas and Reed to put them up 24-17. Three points later the Retrievers would take the set off a service error from Albany.
The Retrievers would keep the fourth set close throughout the first half with kills from Reed, Duncan, and Freeman, and would be within two points at 13-11. Albany would go on a 9-2 run to put them up 22-13. After two points from UMBC, Albany would go on a 3-0 run to end the set and the match.
UMBC will return to action on Friday against Stony Brook at the RAC at 7 p.m.