WASHINGTON, D.C. – UMBC sophomores Krystal Mlemchukwu (Baltimore, Md./Western Tech) and Sherelle Walker (New Freedom, Pa./Susquehannock) each notched double-digit kills as the UMBC volleyball team knocked off Maryland for the first time in program history, Saturday afternoon at George Washington's Smith Center. The Retrievers swept the Terps in three sets, 26-24, 25-23, 29-27.
"I'm super proud of the effort, it was a complete team effort," said head coach Ian Blanchard. "All the way around, there were so many contributions.
"Casey Griffith (King of Prussia, Pa./Upper Merion) played tremendously all weekend and really kept us in our system. It is a great team-win as we really played together as a team."
Following the match, Mlemchukwu was named to the All-Tournament Team. On the weekend, the sophomore middle blocker recorded 27 kills.
Griffith led the Retrievers (1-2) on the backline for the third straight match, picking up ten digs. Senior setter Mallory McIntyre (Winnipeg, Manitoba/St. Mary's Academy) dished out 35 assists while picking up seven digs.
Ashleigh Crutcher paced the Terps (2-1) with 18 kills while Adreene Elliott added 13 put-aways. Sarah Harper and Mary Cushman were each in double-figures for digs with 16 and 12, respectively.
UMBC outhit Maryland .271-.164 for the match and also recorded three service aces to the Terps' one.
The match was close throughout as the teams traded the lead a total of 14 times and were tied on 39 other occasions. The first set was particularly close with neither team time able to build a lead greater than three. Maryland made a surge midway through the set, though, winning eight of ten points to claim a 23-20 lead. UMBC had the last laugh in the frame, however, winning six of the final seven points to earn the set victory 26-24.
The Retrievers looked poised to use that momentum in the second set and staked to a 6-2 lead early on a kill by junior Hannah Schmidt (Catonsville, Md./Mount de Sales). The lead grew to five at 10-5 on one of Mlemchukwu's 11 kills, but the Terps hit back with five straight to level the frame. From there on out neither team won more than two points in a row until UMBC, trailing 23-22, strung together three consecutive points and stole the set, 25-23.
UMBC again jumped out to a lead in the third set, this time building a modest four-point cushion, 12-8, on a Maryland attack error. The Terps staged another comeback and drew level with the Retrievers at 19-19. The Black and Gold regrouped though and gained two set points with a 24-22 lead, but could not put Maryland away. Instead the set swayed back-and-forth until senior Ali Goc (Oshawa, Ontario/R.S. McLaughlin) served up an ace to secure the victory.
"That is some of the best energy I've seen in the last four or five years with this team," Blanchard said. "Hopefully this win generates some positive momentum for the season."
"I knew we could play with everyone this weekend and we really proved that by beating Maryland."
UMBC now opens up its 2013 home schedule with a non-conference contest against George Mason on Wednesday, Sept. 4. Game time at the RAC Arena is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
- UMBC was previously winless in ten all-time matches against Maryland.
- Griffith has collected double-digit digs in each of the Retrievers' first three matches.
- Walker has now notched double figures in kills in 17 career matches and six of the last seven dating back to last season.
- UMBC has three more matches against in-state opponents this season (9/7 at Loyola, 9/10 vs. Towson, 9/14 vs. Coppin State).