UAlbany Volleyball Hosts UMBC for Senior Day, Hartford to Finish AE Home Season
ALBANY, N.Y. – The UAlbany volleyball team will look to secure hosting rights for the America East Tournament, taking on UMBC on Friday, November 3rd at 7 p.m. for Senior Day and Hartford on Sunday, November 5th at 2 p.m. in its final regular season home matches.
A pair of victories would secure the America East regular season title and home court for the America East Tournament.
Each match at the University Gym is free to attend for the public. In addition, both matches will be streamed live online for free on AmericaEast.tv. In case parking is unavailable in the SEFCU lot, parking is free in the Dutch lot.
UAlbany is riding a seven-match winning streak, including all four road matches over the past two weekends ending with a 3-0 victory at UNH, to hold first place in the America East at 8-1 and 8-13 overall. UMBC has fallen in its last two matches, the last a three-set loss vs. Stony Brook on October 27th, to stand tied for second in the league at 5-3 and 13-9 overall. Hartford lost in four to Stony Brook for its fourth straight defeat, coming into the weekend at 2-6 in the league and 5-17 overall.
In a makeup match on October 22nd in Baltimore, UAlbany defeated UMBC in four to improve to 29-7 against the Retrievers all-time. UAlbany swept Hartford on the road on October 6th for its 14th straight win against the Hawks, standing 29-4 all-time.
UALBANY DUO EARNS AMERICA EAST WEEKLY AWARDS: After leading the UAlbany volleyball team to a pair of road victories over UMass Lowell and New Hampshire, two Great Danes have been selected for America East weekly honors. Nicole Otero was chosen as the America East Defensive Specialist of the Week while Danielle Tedesco was honored as the America East Rookie of the Week.
NICOLE OTERO JOINS 1000-DIG CLUB: UAlbany’s starting libero beginning in the 2015 season, Nicole Otero joined the 1,000-dig club on September 1st vs. St. John’s, currently standing at 1,286 for 7th all-time at UAlbany. The two-time America East All-Conference Second Team libero and 2015 America East Defensive Specialist of the Year has averaged 4.7 digs per set in her collegiate career and had at least 475 digs in each of her first two years.
She also is 98 digs away from tying for 6th all-time in UAlbany history with Jessica Volke, who had 1,385 digs from 1989-1992.
LAST TIME: UALBANY WINS ROAD MATCHES AT UML, UNH: UAlbany continued its winning streak with three-set road victories against UMass Lowell (25-15, 25-21, 25-18) and at New Hampshire (25-16, 25-18, 25-23) to build its first place in the America East.
AQUA ATTACKS: Akuabata Okenwa is third in the America East with 3.28 kills per set, totaling a team-high 233 kills on the year. Going into conference play, the redshirt sophomore led UAlbany in kills in the last seven matches, and led the team in kills in five of the last eight league matches.
Chloe Evering is second on the team with 164 kills. Each Okenwa and Evering earned a place on the 2016 America East All-Rookie Team.
APPROACHING ENGSTROM’S 100TH LEAGUE WIN: As UAlbany’s head coach, MJ Engstrom is three league victories away from her 100th win in America East regular season play. In total, Engstrom’s UAlbany teams are 97-20 (82.9%) in the America East regular season.
The Great Danes have won at least nine America East matches in nine out of 10 years and double digit league victories in six years.
CAPITAL DISTRICT REPRESENT: Among UAlbany’s freshman class include two players from the Capital District. Lexi Shannon, who enrolled at UAlbany last spring, was a three-time Colonial Council All-Star out of the Albany Academy while Diana Pinchuk, a two-time Suburban Council All-Star and first-ever Niskayuna player to play Division I volleyball.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS: UMBC’s top offensive player is freshman outside hitter Carmen Freeman, who has team-highs with 225 kills and 16 service aces, adding 193. Junior middle Paola Rojas hits .252 with 148 kills and 50 blocks while junior Kristin Watson leads the America East with 340 digs at libero, adding seven aces.
Freshman Abby Nash is Hartford’s leader in kills at outside hitter with 172 and in digs with 162. Senior outside Katy Henchy is second with 168, adding 54 blocks, while sophomore Jenna Bridges is in the middle, hitting .183 with 130 kills, 30 aces and 70 total blocks.
LAST MEETINGS: In the makeup match in Baltimore, UAlbany defeated UMBC in four sets (25-18, 25-22, 20-25, 25-15) to take first place in the America East on October 22nd. Tatiana Tiangco hit .276 for 13 kills while Nicole Otero had 25 digs at libero. Franchesca Reed led UMBC with 13 kills and six blocks.
UAlbany’s first America East road match at Hartford on October 6th at Hartford was a three-set win (26-24, 25-17, 25-20). Akuabata Okenwa finished with 11 kills and four blocks while Taylor Robinson hit .750 for nine kills and five blocks. Abby Nash had nine kills and 12 digs for Hartford.