Friday, November 21, 2008

UAlbany Women's Volleyball Set to Host 2008 America East Conference Tournament Today

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. – The UAlbany volleyball program is set to host the 2008 America East Conference Championship after finishing the season undefeated in conference play. The Great Danes, who earned the tournament’s top seed and hosting rights for the fourth time in the past five seasons, will be joined by Binghamton, UMBC and Maine in the single-elimination championship, which will take place Friday and Saturday, Nov. 21 and 22.

UAlbany (20-8, AE 12-0) completed just the third undefeated season in conference play since 1998, when the league began the current format of playing each conference opponent twice in a season. UAlbany is the two-time defending champion and has won three out of the last four championship titles, earning the conference’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament each time. The Great Danes are led by senior middle blocker Kamisha Kellam and sophomore outside hitter Amanda Cowdrey, who average 2.74 and 3.27 kills per set, respectively, along with sophomore setter Brooke Stanley, who leads the conference by handing out 10.51 assists per set.

Binghamton (15-14, AE 9-3) earned the second seed in the tournament after splitting on the final conference weekend with a win over New Hampshire and a loss to fellow tournament participant Maine. Besides UAlbany, Binghamton is the last team to win the America East championship title, accomplishing that feat in 2005. The Bearcats are led by sophomore hitter Anna Lejina who earned player of the week honors after averaging 5.22 kills per set on the week with a .389 hitting percentage.

UMBC (18-13, AE 7-5) entered the final weekend of regular-season play without an official playoff berth and moved into third place in the standings via a tiebreaker with Maine that came down to percentage of points won in head-to-head competition. The Retrievers, led by current setter of the week Kira Giles, return to the conference tournament after missing out last season.

Maine (14-12, AE 7-5) rounds out the tournament field after missing postseason play since 2005. The Black Bears are led offensively by Lindsay Allman and Laura Goettsch, while setter Jessica Wolfenden paces the Maine attack. Maine has not finished higher than third in the conference standings since 1999, but reached the title game in 2001 and 2004.

Binghamton and UMBC will face off in the first semifinal match at University Gymnasium on Friday at 4 p.m., while UAlbany and Maine will take the court at 7 p.m. The winners will meet in the championship match on Saturday at 4 p.m. with the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament on the line.


2008 America East Conference Volleyball Championship

University Gymnasium – Albany, N.Y.

Friday, Nov. 21 – Semifinals

#2 Binghamton vs. #3 UMBC, 4 p.m.

#1 UAlbany vs. #4 Maine, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 22 – Championship

Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 4 p.m.

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