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UAlbany Volleyball Hosts Stony Brook for Annual Dig Pink Match

UAlbany Sports Information   10-11-2017

ALBANY, N.Y. – The UAlbany volleyball team has returned to the University Gym for a 2 p.m. contest against Stony Brook on Sunday, October 15th to complete the first half of conference play.

Admission to the match at the University Gym is free to the public.  In addition, the match will be broadcast online on AmericaEast.tv for free.

This contest is the annual Dig Pink match for breast cancer awareness.  UAlbany will be wearing pink jerseys during the match.  The Great Danes are also raising funds for the Side-Out Foundation, which teams up with volleyball teams to fight breast cancer.

UAlbany swept Hartford on Friday, then saw its match against UMBC being postponed on Sunday.  The Great Danes stand tied for first place in the America East at 3-1 having won its last two matches, standing 3-13 overall.  Stony Brook, which plays Binghamton on Friday, starts the weekend at 13-7 overall, coming off a midweek four-set victory over Iona, and also at 3-1 in the league.

UAlbany has won the last five matches against Stony Brook, including in five sets on the road and in three at home last year.  All-time, UAlbany is 30-12 against the Seawolves.

UALBANY DUO EARNS AMERICA EAST WEEKLY AWARDS: Nicole Otero was selected as the America East Defensive Specialist of the Week while Kelly Cameron is the America East Setter of the Week after UAlbany’s three set victory over Hartford.  Each earned their first league weekly award of the year.

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 1,185.  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 33 digs away from tying for 7th all-time in UAlbany history with Eileen Nicole Rodriguez, who had 1,218 digs from 2002-05.

LAST TIME: UALBANY SWEEPS HARTFORD: UAlbany earned its first road victory of the season with a three-set victory over Hartford (26-24, 25-17, 25-20).  The weekend was ended abruptly due to its planned Sunday match at UMBC being postponed due to a facility issue. 

Akuabata Okenwa led UAlbany with 11 kills, four blocks and four digs.  Taylor Robinson hit .750 for nine kills and five blocks while Tatiana Tiangco had nine kills and three digs.  Nicole Otero averaged seven digs a set to total 21.

AQUA ATTACKS: Akuabata Okenwa is fourth in the America East with 3.37 kills per set, totaling a team-high 182 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 the last three league matches.

Chloe Evering is second on the team with 114 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 nine league victories away from her 100th win in America East regular season play.  In total, Engstrom’s UAlbany teams are 92-20 (82.1%) 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 OPPONENT: Stony Brook is led by first-year head coach Kristin Belzung.  With a team-high 204 kills and 23 service aces, redshirt junior Emily Costello is the primary outside hitter, also having 202 digs.  Junior middle blocker McKyla Brooks hits .303 with 176 kills and 60 blocks while sophomore setter LeAnne Sakowicz has 755 assists, 23 aces, 168 digs and 37 blocks. 

LAST MEETING: On the 2016 Senior Day, UAlbany swept Stony Brook (28-26, 25-19, 25-20) to finish the home season.  Chloe Evering notched a team-best 12 kills, while Laini Leindecker had nine kills and 18 digs.  For Stony Brook, Jordan Gels led with 14 kills and seven digs.



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