UAlbany Narrowly Falls in Five Sets to EKU to End Twinbill Defeat
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – After being defeated by Yale in three (20-25, 15-25, 18-25), the Great Danes took the second and third set for a 2-1 lead against Eastern Kentucky, but was the victim of a comeback to fall to the Colonels in five (17-25, 25-22, 25-20, 18-25, 9-15) to finish the Penn State Classic on Saturday.
In set one against Yale, after an opening Bulldogs point, Samantha Brostrom earned a kill then a service to put UAlbany (0-12) up 2-1. The teams exchanged points until at 5-5, Yale went on a 7-0 run to take the lead. Amanda Dolan stopped the run with two consecutive kills, and after a Yale point, UAlbany won four in a row, capped by three kills, to pull within two 13-11. The Great Danes edged closer after kills from Dolan and Leindecker made it 15-14 Yale. Yale won the next two, the UAlbany won the next two in the back-and-forth affair. At 22-20, the final three points went to the Bulldogs for a 25-20 Yale first set win.
Yale started the second game on a 3-0 run. The Great Danes countered with a Brostrom kill, Dolan solo block, Tatum Jungsten kill and Yale attack error to take a 4-3 lead. At 5-5, the Bulldogs took the next six points to go up 11-5. UAlbany got a couple points back on kills from Mikala McCauley and Laini Leindecker to make it 12-7 Yale. A 5-0 Yale run extended the Bulldogs’ lead to 17-7, later leading 23-12. The Great Danes tried to fight back, winning three of the next four points, capped by a McCauley ace, but Yale won the set 25-15 to go up 2-0 in the match.
Into the third game, Olivia Schonewise started the set with a kill. The Bulldogs took the next five points to lead 5-1. Led by Brostrom’s serving, UAlbany got three in a row to pull to one. At 8-5 Yale, Schonewise served UAlbany through a 3-0 run to tie the set 8-8. Yale won the next three for an 11-8 lead. Jungsten halted the run with a kill, but the Bulldogs later led 15-10. The Danes tried to get back but the reminder of the set was mostly sideouts, leading to a 25-18 third set win for Yale and a 3-0 match victory for the Bulldogs.
A couple of hours later, UAlbany turned around to take on Eastern Kentucky (5-8). Using a couple of attack errors and a Schonewise kill, UAlbany led 4-1 early. At 6-3, an EKU attack error and Lauren Spreen service ace made it 8-3 UAlbany. The Colonels got 17 of the next 18 points to lead 20-9. The Great Danes made a late push with three of the next four points on kills from Jungsten and Brostrom. At 22-12 EKU, Schonewise and Dolan made unassisted kills to get a couple of points closer. The teams exchanged points until EKU took the set 25-17.
Down 5-3 early in the second set, a Jungsten kill and Viktoriia Stroilo service ace tied it up at five. EKU went up 12-7, later leading 13-9. After an EKU service error, Amy Hunter earned two kills in a row to get within one 13-12. The Colonels got two more to go back up by three. A Schonewise kill started a 3-0 UAlbany run to tie the set at 15. Going back and forth until 18-17 EKU, two Brostrom kills and a Dolan kill pushed UAlbany ahead 20-18. Leading 21-20, the Great Danes got kills from Hunter and Jungsten for a 24-20 lead. After two EKU points, a service error gave the set to UAlbany 25-22 to tie the match.
Helped by two Abbey Cvelbar service aces, EKU took an early 8-2 lead in the third game. UAlbany cut much of the deficit with a 4-0 run, capped by a block and two kills by Hunter, to make it 8-6. At 10-7 EKU, UAlbany won three straight, ended by a block and kill by Brostrom, to tie up the game at 10. Johanna Boyer got a kill to put the Colonels in the lead, which UAlbany countered with a Schonewise kill, Spreen ace and another Schonewise kill to make it 13-11. EKU tied it up at 13, then UAlbany earned another 3-0 run to lead 16-13. At 16-15, the Great Danes surged forward with five straight points, including two Jungsten blocks, for a 21-15 lead. After the Colonels got two back, one more 3-0 run for UAlbany made it 24-17. UAlbany held off a late comeback attempt from EKU as Brostrom got a kill to take the third set 25-20 and go up 2-1 in the match.
Set number four saw UAlbany continue to momentum with the first four points, capped by a Dolan-Schonewise combo block. EKU struck with six consecutive points to take a 6-4 lead. Engstrom called timeout, which spurred a 3-0 UAlbany run to take back the lead 7-6. The teams kept siding out as the Great Danes led 14-13 after a Schonewise kill. EKU went ahead after a couple of points as another Schonewise kill tied it up at 15. After an EKU kill, Rachel Vick had three straight kills to put the Colonels up 19-15. A Jungsten kill stopped the streak, but a couple of 3-0 runs in the end gave the fourth set to EKU 25-18 to force a fifth game.
In the tiebreaker set at 2-1, a Schonewise kill tied it up. EKU won six of the next seven points to go up 8-3. Kills from Hunter and Brostrom got two points back. After an exchange of points, a couple of Alexis Plagens points pushed EKU up 12-7. Dolan got a kill to put UAlbany within four, but EKU did not lose the lead, taking three of the final four points to win 15-9 and take the match in five.
McCauley was named to the All-Tournament Team after finishing the Penn State Classic with 61 assists, 26 digs and three service aces. She had a career-high 16 digs and 38 assists against Eastern Kentucky.
Schonewise and Jungsten each finished the day with 20 kills, with the former adding 14 digs and the latter having seven blocks. With 14 kills and 25 digs today, Brostrom earned a double double against EKU with 10 kills and 14 digs.
The team returns home and will prepare for the start of conference play, taking on Binghamton at the University Gym on Sunday, September 29th at 5 p.m.