ALBANY, N.Y. -- Traci Vandegrift totaled 12 kills and 16 digs, while Gabby Whitworth recorded 41 assists and 15 digs in her first match as a setter, leading UAlbany to a 3-1 win over Hartford in America East Conference volleyball action on Sunday afternoon at University Gym. The Great Danes posted set scores of 25-19, 24-26, 25-15 and 25-22 to earn the victory.
Hartford jumped out to an early 7-3 lead in the first set on a service ace by Dionna Kirton, but UAlbany battled back to pull within 10-9 on a Whitworth ace. The teams exchanged points before the Great Danes tied the set on kill by Whitworth. Sareeta and Kami Nethersole recorded back-to-back kills for Hartford, and took a two-point lead, 15-13, on another Sareeta Nethersole kill, but Tatum Jungsten and Sara Pope recorded consecutive kills to tie the set once again at 15-15. UAlbany took its first lead of the set on a block by Whitworth and Jungsten, and continued to build from there. Pope smacked a kill to put the Great Danes ahead, 20-16, prompting Hartford to take a timeout. Viktoriia Stroilo responded by serving up an ace, and UAlbany got to set point on a kill by Vandegrift. Hartford fought off the initial set point, but a Pope kill ended the first set in the Great Danes' favor.
The teams played a back and forth second set, with neither team getting ahead by more than three points throughout the set. Samantha Brostrom took an assist from Whitworth and converted a kill to tie the set at 18-18, and took a 19-18 lead on a Hartford attack error. The Hawks would not fold, however, and Kami Nethersole gave Hartford a 23-21 lead, which led to a UAlbany timeout. Dunja Prgomet entered the game for the Great Danes after the timeout and promptly recorded a kill and a service ace to tie the score at 23-23. UAlbany got to set point on a Hartford attack error, but Kami Nethersole recorded three straight kills to give the Hawks the set win.
UAlbany came roaring out of the locker room for the third set, building up a 9-4 lead behind the service game of Brostrom. Sareeta Nethersole ended the rally with a kill, but the Great Danes got a kill from Jungsten, followed by two Hartford errors to increase their advantage to 12-5. UAlbany continued to roll through the third set, as Vandegrift and Jungsten teamed up for back-to-back blocks, followed by a Brostrom kill to put the Great Danes a 20-11 advantage. UAlbany got to set point on a Hartford attack error, but setter Jackie Tamburri recorded a kill to stave off the final decision. Pope once again ended the set with a big kill off an assist from Whitworth to put UAlbany up two sets to one.
The Great Danes were looking for nothing but a win going into the fourth set, and built up a 9-4 advantage, as Vandegrift teamed up first with Alberte Bjornsson and then with Jungsten for back-to-back blocks, and followed up with a big kill. Jungsten added a kill to put UAlbany up five points and Hartford took a timeout. The Hawks regrouped and battled back, pulling to within 12-11 on a Tamburri kill and then tying the set at 12-12 on a UAlbany error. The Great Danes would not fold, however, and got up, 20-17 on a kill by Jungsten. Hartford continued to fight, and a UAlbany attack error followed by a kill by Sareeta Nethersole pulled the Hawks to 22-12 and induced a timeout by the Great Danes. UAlbany got to set point on an attack error by Hartford, before Prgomet took a final assist from Whitworth to end the match.
The Great Danes had five players with double-digit dig totals, led by Stroilo with 21. Kathleen Horvath added 19 digs, while Brostrom added 13 digs and eight kills. UAlbany out-blocked Hartford, 13-1, led by Jungsten with eight block assists. The Great Danes also served up seven aces, with Horvath responsible for three of those.
The Nethersole sisters led Hartford (6-11, AE 0-1)), as Sareeta totaled a match-high 16 kills and Kami finished with 12 kills. Both also recorded double-doubles with 20 and 17 digs, respectively. Tamburri added a double-double of the assist-dig variety, with 45 assists and 19 digs.
UAlbany (4-10, AE 1-0) will return to action on Thursday, visiting crosstown-rival Siena at 7:30 p.m.