MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. -- Three players recorded kill-dig double-doubles, led by sophomore Sara Pope with a team-high 15 kills, as UAlbany defeated Miami (OH), 3-2 on the first day of play at the Diet Coke Classic at Minnesota's Sports Pavilion. The Great Danes posted set scores of 25-16, 25-20, 22-25, 21-25 and 16-14 for the victory.
After a back-and-forth start to the first set, UAlbany got three straight kills from Pope and a block from Tatum Jungsten to build up a 15-11 lead on Miami. The Great Danes continued to extend its lead to 21-14 behind kills from Traci Vandegrift and Dunja Prgomet. Christina Menche attemped to pull the Red Hawks back into the game, getting the team's final two kills, but Vandegrift and Gabby Whitworth put away kills before the set ended on a Miami attack error.
The Great Danes posted a come-back victory in the second set. Miami led the majority of the way before UAlbany tied the set at 19-19 on a block assist by Jungsten and Pope. Whitworth served for the next four points, while Sofia Furlong recorded a kill to give the Great Danes set point, 24-19, prompting the Red Hawks to take a time out. Miami held off the final point with a kill from Meg Riley, but Pope ended the set on the next rally, giving UAlbany a 2-0 match lead.
The teams battled throughout the third set, tying the score four times in the early going before Miami took control. A kill by Jenny Ingle put the Red Hawks up, 14-11, and Amy Kendall served for the next four points, putting Miami ahead, 18-11. The Great Danes tried to rally in the late going, getting a service ace from Vandegrift to pull within 22-19, and holding the Hawks at set point with a kill from Pope, but Ingle took an assist from Riley to end the set in Miami's favor.
The Red Hawks were able to hold off UAlbany again in the fourth set, as the Great Danes looked to end the match. The teams played a back-and-forth set, with neither team able to hold the other off for long, but Miami took advantage of a pair of handling errors on the Great Danes in the late going to reach set point. Dunja Prgomet smacked a kill to get UAlbany within 24-21, but Ingle smacked home the winning kill to tie the match at 2-2.
The Great Danes were determined in the fifth and decisive set, roaring out to a 4-1 lead on an opening kill by Pope, followed by three Miami attack errors. Behind the service game of Sarah Chaney, the Red Hawks battled back, taking a 6-4 lead on a Riley kill. It was then UAlbany's turn to rally, tying the score at 8-8 on a block by Prgomet and Whitworth, before Miami returned the favor by going up 11-9 on a UAlbany attack error. Later in the set, UAlbany's Jungsten and Furlong teamed up for a block to tie the score at 13-13. The teams exchaged kills before UAlbany got to set point and sealed up the victory on back-to-back kills by Vandegrift.
Along with Pope, Vandegrift and Prgomet recorded double-doubles of the kill-dig variety. Vandegrift totaled 12 kills and 19 digs, while Prgomet finished with 12 kills and 12 digs, along tih four block assists. Libero Viktoriia Stroilo recorded a match-high 22 digs, while Jungsten led the Great Danes to 13 total team blocks with two solo stuffs and six block assists.
Riley recorded a triple-double for Miami (1-3), recording 17 kills, 12 digs and 23 assists. Chaney finished with 13 kills, while libero Madison Hardy led the Red Hawks with 19 digs.
UAlbany (1-3) will continue play on Saturday, facing off against Long Island and host Minnesota, the 16th-ranked team in the country.