Sunday, November 21, 2010

Univerisity of Albany Women's Volleyball Sweeps UMBC In America East Conference Championship Match - On To NCAAs

Albany, N.Y. - It was only fitting that Teresa Coppiellie scored the winning point that gave UAlbany a 3-0 win over UMBC in the America East Conference Volleyball Championship final. The victory gave the Great Danes a berth in the upcoming NCAA Championship as UAlbany's 43rd conference championship and 17th NCAA Tournament team.

In fact, Coppiellie scored the Great Danes' final three points Saturday at University Gym and then collected the tournament's Most Outstanding Player honor and joined teammates Laurie Gonzalez and Casey Wright on the all-championship team.

Top-seeded UAlbany beat third-seeded UMBC in straight games, 25-20, 25-21 and 25-20 and raised its record to 22-7. The Great Danes ran their win streak to seven contests and claimed their fifth America East title in seven years. UAlbany will now advance to be one of 64 teams in the NCAA Championship.

"This is the goal we have every year," said head coach MJ Engstrom. "We were successful in attacking their line, and Teresa just played phenomenally well. Laurie had 25 digs in three games and that's unbelievable."

Coppiellie had a team-high 12 kills on the night to go along with 19 digs. Gonzalez, it seemed, spent half her time on the floor as she made diving digs time after time. Traci Vandegrift had 10 kills and Dunja Prgomet had seven, including two to finish off UMBC in the second set.

In the first set, UAlbany started fast with a five-point run to go up 6-4. The Great Danes led the rest of the way and UMBC made too many mistakes to challenge. However, the Great Danes needed a rally to take the second game. They trailed 15-12 before scoring five straight to take a 17-15 lead. The Retrievers climbed back to knot the game at 20-20 but UAlbany closed by getting five of the last six points.

UAlbany continued its strong play and never trailed in the last game. The Great Danes held their biggest lead at 22-13 when Wright scored on a kill that was the result of a great dig by Gonzalez and a nice set from Abbey Wexel, who had 34 assists on the night.

Coppiellie took over from there, scoring her team's last three points. The game-winner was a slam to the left-hand corner, and naturally it came with an assist from Wexel.

"Losing last year was hard, and we didn't want to go through that again," said the senior Coppiellie "We didn't take winning for granted. There were so many emotions going through me in that last game. It was just fun to be out there."

UAlbany, who will play a tune-up match on Friday, Nov. 26 at Virginia Commonwealth, will find out its NCAA opponent during the selection show on Sunday, Nov. 28. The show will air live on ESPNews at 3 p.m.

Courtesy: UAlbany Athletics

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