Baltimore, MD – For the second consecutive season, the UMBC Volleyball team dominated the competition en route to a Fairfield Inn & Suites Charm City Challenge. The Retrievers (5-5), defeated host Loyola (MD) in four sets (20-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-21) on Saturday to wrap up the title.
"We still have a ways to go to get where we want to be as a team, but tournaments like this one continue to serve as good measuring tools," said head coach Ian Blanchard.
Sophomore Lauren Mortimer (Queen Anne's, Md./Queen Anne's) earned tournament MVP honors after getting 14 kills on a .478 hitting percentage.
Freshman Carmen Freeman (Memphis, Tenn./St. Mary's) and sophomore Franchesca Reed (Aurora, Colo./Grand View) also had big performances. Freeman tied Mortimer's team high of 14 kills, while Reed added 11 kills, hitting 58% for the day. Junior Carola De Jesus (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Academia Maria Reina) also gave the Retrievers a match high 18 digs, while classmate Krytsia Negron (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Colegio Adianez) had a match high 51 assists.
"Considering we did not have Kristin Watson (illness), I was very pleased with how responded defensively," said Blanchard "Her absence gave rise to opportunities for others on our team to step up. Carmen in particular had a very good weekend defensively, while Krytsia has really improved her defense and blocking."
In the opening set, both teams were close throughout, but the Greyhounds (4-5) were able to hold off any Retriever run to take the first set.
Loyola (MD) got off to a hot start in the second set, going up 12-3 early, but the Retrievers rallied back with a 12-2 run to give them their first lead of the set. The Greyhounds would tie the set up two times before the Retrievers closed the set out on another run of 7-1.
The Retrievers received kills from multiple players throughout the set, including seniors Ashley Ramos (Orlando, Florida/Liberty/Monroe JC), Abbie Mirabella (Hockessin, Del./St. Mark's), Reed, Freeman, and Mortimer.
Neither team was able to take control of the third set until late, when UMBC went on a quick 5-0 run with kills from Ramos and Mirabella, as well as an ace from Reed. The Greyhounds would cut the lead down to two, but a Freeman kill gave the Retrievers the set.
The fourth set featured multiple runs from both teams. Loyola began the set up 8-4, and then the Retrievers went on an 8-0 run, and then traded points with the Greyhouds to lead 15-10. Loyola (MD) would go on a 6-1 run of their own to tie the set up at 16-16.
Both teams continued to trade points until the Retrievers went on a 4-1 run to close out the set and take the match.
In addition to Mortimer, Negron and Ramos were named to the All-Tournament Team.
The Retrievers are back in action next Friday as they travel to Washington, D.C. to take part in the GW Invitational. They will take on Delaware and Holy Cross on Friday and the host George Washington on Saturday.