Leindecker Earns Career Kill #1000 as UAlbany Volleyball Defeats UMass Lowell 3-2
LOWELL, Mass. – The UAlbany volleyball team held first place in the America East, pulling out a five-set victory at UMass Lowell (25-12, 24-26, 23-25, 25-23, 15-7) on the road on Sunday afternoon.
In the victory, Laini Leindecker joined the 1000-kill club, becoming the fourth player in UAlbany volleyball history to earn over 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs.
“We got the win against a team that gave us a strong fight; I think Chloe Evering had her best weekend of the season,” said UAlbany coach MJ Engstrom. “Congratulations to Laini on her 1000th kill, she is a great all-around player and a joy to coach.”
Down 21-19 in the fourth set, UAlbany (14-7, 8-1 AE) rallied to take back the set and force a tiebreaker against UMass Lowell (6-18, 1-8 AE). At 3-3 in the fifth, UAlbany earned 12 of the final 16 points for the victory and sixth straight road win.
“UMass Lowell has improved so much over the past four years and came ready to play,” said Leindecker. “It was great to see our team persevere and come out with the win.”
Off the victory, UAlbany remains a match ahead of UNH for first place in the America East.
Leindecker finished with a double-double off 11 kills and 12 digs, earning her 1,000th kill in the fourth set. Chloe Evering led all players with 18 kills, adding two blocks, while Akuabata Okenwa had 10 kills and six blocks. Amanda Dolan earned a season-high 10 blocks, adding seven kills.
For UMass Lowell, Katherine Claybaugh had 17 kills and eight digs while Haley Shimon tallied 13 kills.
An early 5-0 run off the serving of Nina Holmes, capped by two McCauley dump kills, gave UAlbany an 8-2 advantage in set one. UAlbany later to six of seven points, five by way of kills, to surge ahead 16-7. UAlbany kept notching kills to counter UML points, then riding the serving of Gabrielle Hansen for a 4-0 run. UAlbany took the first set 25-12.
The two sides started back and forth in the second set when at 8-6, a Leindecker kill and block sparked a 3-0 run and sent UAlbany up 9-8. Down 12-11, UAlbany got another 3-0 run, capped by a kill and block by Evering, for a 14-12 lead. More kills built the lead to 18-14. UML countered with kills and an ace by Claybaugh, going ahead at 21-20. UAlbany got points back and got set point at 24-23 off an Evering kill. Madi Bell blocked a Leindecker attack and got a kill. A UAlbany attack error gave UML the set 26-24 and evened the match.
At 9-9 in the third set, UAlbany burst ahead with five straight points off Nicole Otero’s serving, including two Okenwa-Dolan combo blocks and an ace, to move up 14-9. A couple of kills and a block from Leindecker helped keep the lead strong at 21-15. Lade Adeniyi got a kill for UML, beginning a seven-point run for the home team to give the River Hawks a 22-21 lead. Two UML errors gave UAlbany back the lead at 23-22, but the home team got three kills in a row to end set three 25-23 as UAlbany trailed 2-1 in the match.
Letting UML swing away and miss, UAlbany got an early 7-4 advantage in set four. A 3-0 UML run tied it at seven. UAlbany got back ahead at 10-8, then UML got three in a row for an 11-10 score. An Okenwa kill was followed by the block party of Dolan, who knocked down three straight UML attacks, adding a fourth UML attack error for a 15-11 UAlbany lead. At 18-15, Lauren Bennett got a kill and two blocks, then two more UML points made it 20-18 River Hawks, later 21-19. Two UAlbany kills tied it up, then after a Claybaugh kill, UAlbany got an important 3-0 run, sandwiched by two Evering kills, for an 24-22 lead. UML defended once with an Adeniyi kill, but an error gave UAlbany the set 25-23 and force a set five.
At 3-2 in set five, kills by Evering and Dolan sent UAlbany to a 3-0 run and a 5-3 lead. Following a Bell kill, a Leindecker kill sent Emily Zimmerman to serve. Zimmerman took the Great Danes through another 3-0 run for an 8-4 advantage. UAlbany did not give up back-to-back points the rest of the way, with Taylor Robinson adding a kill and block later. A Dolan-Okenwa block finished it as UAlbany won the set 15-7 for a 3-2 match victory.
UAlbany returns home for Senior Day on Friday, November 4th, taking on Stony Brook at 7 p.m. at the University Gym.