Retrievers Rally, Hold Off Albany for Five-Set Win on Senior Day

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BALTIMORE – UMBC senior setter Mallory McIntyre (Winnipeg, Manitoba/St. Mary's Academy) set her season-high by dishing out 58 assists as the Retrievers fed off of their six seniors to defeat America East rival Albany in five sets (19-25, 25-21, 25-23, 18-25, 15-10), Sunday afternoon on Senior Day at the RAC Arena.

McIntyre also scooped up 12 digs for UMBC (16-9, 7-3 AE) to record her eighth double-double of season while classmate Ali Goc (Oshawa, Ontario/R.S. McLaughlin) registered her team-best 13th double-double with 15 kills and 23 digs.  Junior Hannah Schmidt (Catonsville, Md./Mount de Sales), meanwhile, gave the Retrievers a fifth straight double-double by sending down 13 winners and picking up 13 digs.

Despite getting out hit (.204-.152), out dug (104-89), and out blocked (15.0-9.0), UMBC won the big points to remain in a second-place tie with Stony Brook behind conference-leader New Hampshire, and move a game ahead of Albany (6-17, 6-4 AE).

Sophomore Krystal Mlemchukwu (Baltimore, Md./Western Tech) matched Goc with 15 put-aways for the Black and Gold while senior Hallie Carter (Huntington Beach, Calif./Edison) and freshman Casey Griffith (King of Prussia, Pa./Upper Merion) combined for 38 digs.

Amy Hunter led all hitters with 17 kills while Amanda Dolan added 15 winners for Albany.  Samantha Brostrom (Ellicott City, Md./Centennial) earned a double-double for the Great Danes by slamming 12 kills and picking up 19 digs.

UMBC started slowly in the opening set, dropping the first four points, but sprung to life as a kill by sophomore Sherelle Walker (New Freedom, Pa./Susquehannock) sparked a 7-0 run.  Griffith recorded her third kill of the season during the stretch and added a service ace.  The visitors held tight throughout the set and then trailing by two, 17-15, ran off four straight to take the lead, 19-17.  Schmidt pulled UMBC back within one at 19-18, but the Great Danes continued the run to win the opening frame, 25-19.

The Retrievers came out battling in the second set as the hosts looked to pull even.  After a McIntyre service ace and an Albany attack error, the hosts built a three-point lead, 5-2, and maintained the lead until the Danes cut it to one on a block.  Three straight Retrievers points, courtesy of two kills from Walker and one from Goc, restored the lead and UMBC held off a late charge by the visitors to level the match at a set apiece with a 25-21 set win. 

The pivotal third set proved to be the closest of them all as the two squads exchanged the lead only twice but were knotted on seven occasions.  After the teams traded runs to open the set, Schmidt brought the Retrievers back on terms with a kill assisted by McIntyre.  Albany responded by claiming five of the next six and looked on their way with a 20-16 lead.  Goc then powered down a kill and sparked the hosts as they took the lead 23-21.  The teams were tied for the final time at 23-23, but Mlemchukwu and Schmidt struck with winners to give UMBC the set win, 25-23.

In the fourth set, the teams battled back and forth, but then Albany ran off a 9-0 streak for a 16-9 lead.  The Great Danes rolled from there, outhitting the Retrievers .343-.048 in the set, and forcing a fifth set by claiming the fourth, 25-18.

The Retrievers came out strong in the fifth, staking to a 5-1 lead on a Great Dane attack error.  Albany won two of the next three points to pull within three, 6-3, but the Retrievers never let them get any closer.  Four straight UMBC points put the hosts up 10-3 and they salted it away from there, taking the match on a block by Schmidt and Witsaman.

UMBC now closes out the 2013 regular season with four consecutive road matches.  The Retrievers travel next weekend to New Hampshire and UMass Lowell before facing Providence and Hartford on the last weekend of the season.

Dawg Bites

-          After going 1-18 in their first 19 America East conference contests against Albany, UMBC has now won the last three matches versus the Great Danes. 

-          Mlemchukwu recorded 36 kills in the two matches this season against the Great Danes.

-          Carter registered a season-best 21 digs in the contest.