Volleyball Set to Take on #2 Texas in the NCAA First Round
ALBANY, N.Y.- The University at Albany volleyball team is set to make its seventh NCAA tournament appearance this Thursday against #2 Texas in the first round. First serve is set for 8 pm (ET). The winner of the match will move onto the next round and face either UC Santa Barbara or Texas State on Friday at 8 pm (ET).
Thursday, December 5 at #2 Texas (8:00 pm)
Leading the Pack
- UAlbany won its seventh America East championship title with a five-set win over Hartford in the finals.
- Akuabata Okenwa was named the America East tournament’s “Most Outstanding Player” after tallying 32 kills over the course of two matches, a team high 16 of which came in both the semifinal and title match.
- Okenwa was named to the America East All-Championship team alongside teammates Charlotte Macken and Danielle Tedesco.
- The Great Danes’ conference tournament title is their first since 2011.
- UAlbany also won the America East regular season title, its 11thin program history.
- The Longhorns enter the match with a 21-3 record and went 15-1 against the Big 12.
- The team is 12-0 at home in Gregory Gymnasium.
- They are the nation’s #2 seed in the tournament.
- Texas defeated Iowa State in the Big 12 finals by a score of 3-1, and earned a share of the conference title. Based on tie-break details, claimed the automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.
- Senior outside hitter Micaya White leads in kills with 342, averaging 4.02 per set.
- Sophomore setter Jhenna Gabriel leads in assists with 879, averaging 10.46 per set.
Okenwa has tallied double digit kills in 18 matches this season out of 26. The Canyon Country, California native has had 15+ kills in 11 of the matches, and boasts a .292 hitting percentage. The senior also notched 20 kills in back-to-back wins against Boston College and UMBC earlier this season.
Need an Assist?
The Great Danes are 15thin the nation and first in the America East for blocks, averaging 2.7 per set. Noa Brach has led the way averaging 1.26 per set, and teammate Tedesco is right behind her averaging 1.23 per set.
The coaching staff of Josh Pickard, Desma Colburn, Adam Rollman and Dennis Fung were tabbed America East Coaching Staff of the Year. Representing UAlbany on the All-Conference First Team was Okenwa, and Tedesco. Chloe Evering earned a spot on the Second Team and Brach and Stanton garnered All-Rookie accolades.
Okenwa, Macken Earn Weekly Honors (11/12)
Okenwa and Macken each earned weekly conference honors this week after leading the Great Danes to wins against Hartford and Stony Brook. Okenwa was tabbed Player of the Week after tallying double digit kills in the victories, and Macken was Defensive Specialist of the Week after notching 34 digs and five service aces.
Okenwa Earns Weekly Honors (10/15)
Okenwa was named America East Player of the Week this week after leading the team to big wins over Stony Brook and Hartford. The Canyon Country, California native notched 19 kills and hit .312 against the Seawolves, then added 12 kills and hit .450 against the Hawks.
Macken Earns Weekly Honors (10/1)
Macken was tabbed America East Defensive Specialist of the Week after helping the team to its first conference win of 2019 against UMBC. The Clifton Park, New York native tallied 29 digs, averaging 5.80 per set.
Okenwa Earns Weekly Honors (9/24)
Okenwa was named America East Co-Player of the Week after having a strong performance at the Art Carmichael Invitational. The redshirt senior notched 16 kills and hit .500 against Bryant along with had 20 kills and hit .283 against Boston College. She also tallied 10 blocks and was named to the All-Tournament Team.
Okenwa, Stanton Earn Weekly Honors (9/3)
Okenwa and Stanton each earned weekly conference honors after having stellar performances at the Omaha Challenge. Okenwa was named Co-Player of the Week, while Stanton earned Rookie of the Week honors.
Five Great Danes who received America East All-Conference honors lasts season return in 2019. Chloe Evering, Okenwa, and Tedesco were named to the Second Team, and Andersen Vaughan and Grace Cozad earned All-Rookie Team accolades. On top of being named to the All-Rookie Team, Vaughan earned America East Rookie of the Year honors.
In the America East preseason poll, the Great Danes were selected to finish second with 19 points and one first place vote. Ahead of UAlbany was two-time defending conference champion Stony Brook, who received 25 points and five first place votes. Rounding out the rest of the poll was Hartford in third with 15 points, New Hampshire in fourth with 14 points, UMBC in fifth with 12 points and Binghamton in sixth with five points.
The winner will face UC Santa Barbara or Texas State in the next round of the tournament on Friday, December 6 at 8 pm (ET).