• UAlbany (3-10) will open up America East Conference play with the first home match of the 2012 season, welcoming Hartford (6-10) to University Gym.
The Great Danes
• UAlbany, winners of seven of the last eight regular-season titles, was picked to win the America East Conference Championship in the preseason coaches’ poll. In 2011, the Great Danes, who have claimed five of the last six America East Tournament crowns, finished 21-9 overall, and 11-1 in conference play after winning at least 20 matches for the seventh straight season.
The Great Danes graduated Laurie Gonzalez, an Honarable Mention All-American and four-time Defensive Specialist of the Year; Brooke Stanley, a three-time Setter of the Year; and Casey Wright, who was ninth in the nation a year ago, and led the league in hitting percentage for three straight seasons.
UAlbany has struggled through the non-conference season, but has faced three nationally-ranked opponents, including top-10 programs Hawai’i and Stanford. The Great Danes won two matches at the Diet Coke Classic, hosted by #16 Minnesota, and also defeated Sacred Heart at Army’s West Point Challenge.
The Great Danes are led by seniors Dunja Prgomet and Traci Vandegrift. Prgometis averaging 2.54 kills and 2.22 digs per set. Vandegrift has become one of UAlbany’s best all-around players, averaging 2.21 kills, 3.24 digs and 0.60 blocks per set. UAlbany has started using a two-setter rotation with Sofia Furlong (6.38 aps) and Lorena Marquez (4.59 aps). Libero Viktoriia Stroilo leads the Great Danes defensively with 4.48 digs per set.
• Sophomore Sareeta Nethersole leads Hartford with a team-best 236 kills and .273 hitting average over 16 matches. In addition, Nethersole leads the squad defensively with 186 digs and 29 blocks. Nethersole received her first weekly conference honor when she was bestowed America East Player of the Week by the league office on September 4th.
Alex Temkin was named the ninth coach in the history of Hartford women’s volleyball in June and opened his inaugural season with the Hawks at the Kristen Dickmann Memorial Tournament hosted by Navy. Temkin comes to Hartford with experience at all three Divisions, his most recent at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
• This is the 25th meeting between UAlbany and Hartford. The Great Danes lead the all-time series between the two teams, 20-4. Last season, UAlbany won both meetings in three sets.