Career Highs Smashed as Volleyball Rallies From Two Sets Down to Force a Fifth Against UAlbany

Photo: Brian Gonzalez
Photo: Brian Gonzalez

Baltimore, Md. -- Five different Retrievers set career highs, while Carmen Freeman (Memphis, Tenn.) finished with 16 kills while Kamani Conteh (New Castle, Del.) added 15, and teammate Riley Putnicki (Monument, Colo.) gave the offense repeated sparks with 48 assists, but visiting Albany outlasted UMBC (25-21, 25-11, 23-25, 21-25, 15-13) in the America East opener for both teams Friday night. 

Freeman topped UMBC with those 16 kills but also added 14 digs to give the Retrievers help all over the court. Conteh had her 15 kills and also finished with four blocks on defense. 

Putnicki's career-high 48 assists kept helping UMBC attack the tough Great Danes, but she also played a role in other areas. She ended up with a career-best 12 digs -- teammate Brooke Hayden (Mt.Airy, Md.) topped UMBC with a career-high 23 in that category. 

Franchesca Reed (Aurora, Colo.) and Niki Khoshatefeh (Temecula, Calif.) led the Retrievers with seven blocks apiece on defense. The seven blocks were a career-best for Koshatefeh, while classmates Kayla Thomas (Silver Spring, Md.) and Emily Ferketic (Pittsburgh, Pa.) each set career marks of their own with six digs and five blocks, respectively.

UMBC (3-10, 0-1 AE) started slowly in this match as defending conference finalist UAlbany (5-9, 1-0 AE) won the first two sets. The Great Danes were trying to gain control in the third and looking for a sweep before the Retrievers reeled off a 10-1 run that gave them the lead and helped them win, 25-23. 

The fourth and fifth sets also were close. UMBC took an early lead in the fourth set and held on to force the decisive fifth set. 

That one also was tight, with the Great Danes and Retrievers locked up at 12-12 late in the set. But Albany scored three of the final four points and edged UMBC 15-13, taking the match.

The Retrievers next take on Coppin State at home on Tuesday, Oct. 1. That match begins at the UMBC Event Center at 7 p.m.