Friday, November 18, 2011

University of Albany Advances to America East Volleyball Championship Match with Sweep of UMBC - UAlbany Sports 2011

Albany, N.Y. - America East Conference Setter of the Year Brooke Stanley finished with a double-double of 34 assists and 15 digs to lead UAlbany to a 3-0 win over UMBC in an America East Tournament semifinal match on Friday evening at University Gymnasium. With the win, the Great Danes advance to their sixth tournament championship match, taking on Stony Brook on Saturday evening.

The two teams played a back-and-fourth first set that was tied nine times in the early going before Traci Vandegrift recorded a kill that gave UAlbany a 14-13 lead and put the Great Danes on top for good. Vandegrift combined with Casey Wright for two block assists that sandwiched a UMBC attack error and gave UAlbany a 17-13 advantage. Back-to-back kills by Stanley and Samantha Brostrom put UAlbany ahead, 22-15, before UMBC attempted to rally. America East rookie of the year Dalton Tolliver recorded three straight kills, pulling the Retrievers to within 22-19, prompting UAlbany to take a timeout. UAlbany got to set point on a bad set by UMBC, but Emily Vandegrift recorded a kill to keep the set going. Traci Vandegrift connected on an assist from Stanley to end the set and give UAlbany a 1-0 match lead.

The second set started much like the first, with neither team able to build a large advantage. After Brostom gave UAlbany a 16-15 lead with a kill, UMBC scored the next six points, taking a 21-16 advantage on a kill by setter Alexandria Spaay. UAlbany rallied back, and down 24-21, got a kill from Wright that spurred UMBC to take a timeout. With the Retrievers at set point, Traci Vandegrift took over UAlbany's service game, and served UAlbany to the win. Wright and Stanley teamed up for a block on a UMBC attack, while Wright posted a solo block followed by a monster kkill to tie the set at 24-24. A UMBC attack error gave UAlbany set point, and Wright smashed a kill down the middle to give the Great Danes a 2-0 advantage.

UAlbany came out firing in the final set, getting ahead 15-9 on a service ace by Gabby Whitworth. Emily Vandegrift recorded a kill on the next serve and pulled the Retrievers to within 16-13, taking advantage of UAlbany attack errors. Ahead, 21-17 on a Dunja Prgomet kill, Lindsey McCloskey served for two points, getting a huge block from Whitworth and Traci Vandegrift. The Retrievers used consecutive UAlbany attack errors to close in to 23-20, but a kill by Traci Vandegrift gave the Great Danes match point. Prgomet took an assist from McCloskey and knocked a kill down the line for the win.

Tolliver led UMBC with 13 kills and four total blocks, while Emily Vandegrift added nine kills and nine digs for the Retrievers. Spaay finished with a double-double of 30 assists and 12 digs, while Ali Loynachan totaled a team-high 17 digs. UMBC wraps up the season with an overall record of 16-12.

Brostrom led UAlbany with 13 kills, while Prgomet totaled nine kills and 14 digs. America East defensive specialist of the year Laurie Gonzalez recorded a match-high 20 digs. The Great Danes out-blocked the Retrievers, 7-5.5.

UAlbany (20-8) advances to the America East Championship, facing Stony Brook at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The Seawolves earned their spot in the finals with a 3-1 victory over New Hampshire earlier on Friday. UAlbany swept Stony Brook, 3-0, in two regular-season matches this year.


UAlbany (20-8) def. UMBC (16-12), 3-0 (25-23, 26-24, 25-20)

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