Otero Hits 1500 Digs, Volleyball Sweeps the Day
Volleyball Score: UAlbany 3, Western Illinois 0 (25-15, 25-23,) | UAlbany 3, FGCU 2 (22-25, 20-25, 25-22, 25-17, 15-9)
Location: Fort Myers, Fla — Alico Arena
Records: UAlbany (3-5) | Western Illinois (1-7) | FGCU (4-3)
Short Story: The UAlbany volleyball team went 2-0 during Friday’s FGCU Invitational, taking down both Western Illinois and FGCU to improve to 3-5 on the season. In additional to nabbing a pair of wins, Nicole Otero moved up to fourth all-time on the career digs list after eclipsing the 1500-dig mark on Friday morning.
UAlbany: Akuabata Okenwa finished the day with a team-high 30 kills while adding four blocks. Chloe Evering had her best performance of the season as she picked up 25 kills and hit for .323.
Western Illinois: Mackenzie Steckler hit .667 with 11 kills and added two blocks. Melanie Patenaude posted a game-high 32 assist and posted seven kills.
West Virginia: Courtney Vanliew notched a double-double of 13 kills and 10 digs while Giobanna Borgiotti had 14 kills and added two blocks.
- Nicole Otero ranks fourth all-time in program history with 1,535 career digs.
- The 3-0 sweep against Western Illinois was the Great Dane’s first of the season.
- Chloe Evering recorded a season-high 18 kills against FGCU
- Akuabata Okenwa notched a season-best 18 kills against the Eagles.
- The Great Danes nabbed their first comeback win of the season.
UAlbany: The Great Danes held Western Illinois to a .132 hitting percentage in match one. Albany hit .343 and .400 in sets ones and three, respectively. In a rubber match against FGCU, Courtney O’Connell broke the 21-21 tie with a monster kill in set three. The Great Danes went on to score the final four points of the framewhich sparked their five-set comeback win.
Western Illinois: The Leatherbacks kept it close in set two, losing by a score of 25-23. The leatherbacks held the Great Danes to their lowest hitting percentage of the day at .111. Mackenzie Steckler posted five of her 11 kills in the second game.
FGCU: The Eagles hit .367 on their way to a 25-20 win in set two. Borgiotti recorded a handful of big kills down the stretch, preventing the Great Danes from closing the gap.
Recap: The UAlbany volleyball team went 2-0 during Friday’s FGCU Invitational, taking down both Western Illinois and FGCU to improve to 3-5 on the season. In additional to nabbing a pair of wins, Nicole Otero moved up to fourth all-time on the career digs list after eclipsing the 1500-dig mark on Friday morning.
In the first set, Albany and Western Illinois traded points before a kill by Chloe Evering made it 13-9 in favor of the Great Danes. Anna Chalupa served Albany to five straight points which included two kills apiece by Akuabata Okenwa and Grace Cozad. The team scored the last four points to win set one 25-15. Set two stayed close throughout the entire of the game — neither team could build a lead beyond three points. An attack error by the Great Danes would knot the score 23-23. The leathernecks would soon follow with an attack error of their own before Okenwa’s 11th kills of the match would seal the win, 25-23. Into set three, kills from Okenwa and Courtney O’Connell helped UAlbany go back and forth with its opponents, leading 7-6. the Great Danes would then go on a 5-0 run and a 4-0 run to build their lead to 21-13. The final point of the game came from Danielle Tedesco who finished the match with eight kills.
Everything seemed to be working for FGCU early in the match. UAlbany found itself down 2-0 in the match after hitting just 0.81 and .214 in the first and second set respectively. The Great Danes kept it close in the third frame, before Courtney O’Connell broke the 21-21 tie with a monster kill. The Great Danes went on to score the final four points of the set which sparked their five-set comeback win. Up 3-0 early in the next set, the Great Danes held their lead throughout the remainder of the set. Evering slammed a pair of kills to increase her team’s lead to 20-17 and the squad held on for a 25-17 final. FGCU took the first two points of the winner-take-all game. An Eagle’s attack error followed by a Grace Cozad kill knotted the scored at 2-2 and the Great Danes were off and running. The Great Danes went on to score the final four points of the set which sparked their five-set comeback win.
Back in Action:
UAlbany concludes the FGCU Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 8. The Great Danes and West Virginia are set to square of at 1 p.m. (ET).