UAlbany Volleyball Drops Two Matches in Desmond Hotel Invite
ALBANY, N.Y. – The UAlbany volleyball team mounted a comeback attempt against Colgate to take set three but fell in two matches, in four to the Raiders (17-25, 19-25, 25-22, 19-25) and three to Temple (15-25, 15-25, 12-25) to finish the Desmond Hotel Invitational.
“We are still very young, our kids are working hard to make adjustments, and they will get better over time,” said UAlbany head coach MJ Engstrom. “We did have some positives with our lineup changes that we made.”
UAlbany (0-6) hosted its first invitational since 2009 at the University Gym. St. John’s, Colgate (5-1) and Temple (3-3) all went 2-1 while UAlbany was 0-3.
Nicole Otero was named to the Desmond Hotel Invitational All-Tournament Team. She finished with 37 digs in the invitational, averaging 3.7 digs per set.
For Colgate, Amanda Smith hit .296 with 14 kills against UAlbany, with Katie Stansbury tallied eight kills and 10 digs.
Izzy Rapacz led Temple against the Great Danes with nine kills and seven blocks. Teammate Irem Asci had eight kills, 17 digs and three blocks.
Colgate set an early tempo with a first-set opening 3-0 run, later leading 10-4 including a kill and ace from Stansbury. A Tatiana Tiangco kill and a Danielle Tedesco solo block gave UAlbany a couple points back to bring the team within four. Using a couple of Taylor Flaherty blocks, Colgate rebuilt the lead to six at 13-7. The teams kept going back and forth on points, with multiple Great Danes notching kills, but Colgate kept the advantage. Two Amanda Smith kills sparked a 4-0 run to make it 24-14 Raiders. UAlbany had a late 3-0 run but came up short as Colgate took set one 25-17.
A 3-0 run started by kills from Akuabata Okenwa and Evering gave UAlbany an early 5-2 lead in set two. Colgate tied it back up at 5-5. The teams battled in the middle of the set, seeing kills from Cameron and others keep UAlbany within striking distance. At 14-14, Colgate won five of the next six, including two Flaherty kills, to lead 19-15. Another 4-0 run sparked by a Flaherty kill essentially ended the set at Colgate took a 25-19 game win to go up 2-0.
Down 8-2 in the third set, Engstrom called her second timeout to rally the troops. UAlbany responded off the serving of Larissa Focosi, using multiple kills by Evering and Cameron on an 8-0 run to surge into a 10-8 advantage. After Colgate retook the lead and a few back-and-forth points, UAlbany took six straight, including two Tiangco kills and a kill and block from Okenwa, to move ahead 18-13. Again the Raiders got back the advantage, taking nine of the next 11, including three Smith kills, to lead 22-20. Again UAlbany dug down and struck back, taking the final five points, capped by solo blocks from Evering and Taylor Robinson, to grab the set 25-22 and pull to within 2-1 in the match.
Into set four, Colgate got off to a 5-3 start. UAlbany took advantage of several Colgate errors and went ahead 9-6. Stansbury served the Raiders back to the lead at 10-9, which UAlbany responded with three of four to lead 13-11. The exchanges proceeded as Evering earned kills to help UAlbany go up 18-16. UAlbany fell victim to multiple late Colgate kills as the Raiders took nine of 10 to take set four 25-19 and win the match 3-1.
Into its second match, UAlbany went back and forth with Temple to begin, with the Great Danes countering opponent kills with kills from Courtney O'Connell, Okenwa and Evering. At 10-8, Rapacz put down two kills to start a 3-0 run and push the Owls up 13-8. Later, a UAlbany 3-0 run, sandwiched by kills from Robinson and Gabrielle Hansen, got the Great Danes back within two at 14-12. Three straight Temple kills made it 17-12. UAlbany did not get back-to-back points the rest of the game as Temple had the last five points to win set one 25-15.
The teams kept exchanging pairs of points to open set two, with Okenwa adding two kills as UAlbany trailed 7-6. A kill and two blocks from Asci led to a 4-0 Temple run to make it 11-6 Owls, later to 15-8. Kills by Tedesco, Okenwa and Tedesco again brought UAlbany back within four at 15-11. Temple got the next six points, begun by two kills and a block from Rapacz, to lead by 10. Late kills by Tedesco and Okenwa were not enough as UAlbany fell in set two 25-15 and 2-0 in the match.
A Robinson-Cameron combo block helped UAlbany start the set up 4-0 in the third set. Including four kills, Temple took the next seven points. Cameron ended that run with a kill, but four more Temple points followed to make it 11-5 Owls. Cameron notched another kill in the following points, but Temple had another 4-0 run to lead 15-7 and later 18-8. UAlbany got a strong combo block from Robinson and Chloe Lamb to pull UAlbany within eight, but Temple would take the set 25-12 and win the match in three.
UAlbany will now prepare for the Villanova Classic next weekend, taking on UConn on Friday, September 8th at 11 a.m.
Desmond Hotel Invitational All-Tournament Team
Nicole Otero, UAlbany
Mia Heirakuji, Temple (MVP)
Dana Westfield, Temple
Erica Di Maulo, St. John’s
Julia Cast, St. John’s
Kate Stansbury, Colgate
Jaelah Hutchison, Colgate