UAlbany Volleyball Begins America East Road Season at Hartford, UMBC
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – The UAlbany volleyball team will play its first road conference matches in week three of the America East season, playing at Hartford on Friday, October 6th at 7 p.m. and at UMBC on Sunday, October 8th at 1 p.m.
The UAlbany-Hartford match at the Hartford Volleyball Gym will be broadcast live online on AmericaEast.tv and is free to attend to the public. Tickets for the UAlbany-UMBC match at the RAC Arena in Baltimore are eight dollars for the general public.
After playing its first three America East matches at home, UAlbany will play its next two, and five of the next six, on the road. In total, UAlbany has six road contests in nine remaining league matches.
UAlbany split last weekend, with a five-set defeat to UNH and a four-set victory over UMass Lowell, to stand at 2-13 overall and 2-1 in the America East. Hartford played a lone America East match last weekend, a four-set defeat at Stony Brook on Friday, to enter the week at 3-12 overall and 0-2 in the league. UMBC, which will host Binghamton on Friday, fell at Stony Brook in three to start the weekend at 9-7 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
Dating back to 2010, UAlbany has won 13 straight matches against Hartford, including two last year in a combined seven sets, leading the overall series 28-4. After splitting in the regular season, UAlbany swept UMBC in Durham in the 2016 America East Tournament semifinal round. All-time, UAlbany is 28-7 against UMBC.
TIANGCO EARNS AMERICA EAST ROOKIE OF THE WEEK: Earning double digit kills in each match over the weekend vs. UNH and UMass Lowell, Tatiana Tiangco was named the America East Rookie of the Week for the first time. She finished with 26 kills total, averaging just under three per set.
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 1,164. 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 54 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 SPLITS ON HOME WEEKEND: UAlbany recovered after a five-set defeat to New Hampshire (25-14, 25-21, 19-25, 18-25, 9-15) to take down UMass Lowell in four (25-16, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23) and split the home weekend.
Akuabata Okenwa and Kelly Cameron each had double doubles in both matches: Okenwa hit .350 with 32 kills and 28 digs while Cameron combined for 81 assists and 35 digs. Tatiana Tiangco earned 26 kills while Chloe Evering had 24 kills.
AQUA ATTACKS: Akuabata Okenwa is fourth in the America East with 3.35 kills per set, totaling a team-high 171 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 two league matches.
Chloe Evering is second on the team with 110 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 91-20 (82.0%) 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.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS: Senior Katy Henchy is the primary hitter at Hartford with 118 kills and 30 total blocks while freshman Abby Nash has 98 kills and a team-best 113 digs. Sophomore middle blocker Jenna Bridges leads the America East in aces per set, totaling 20, adding 84 kills and 37 blocks.
Two UMBC players have triple digit kills: freshman outside hitter Carmen Freeman has a team-best 154 kills, adding 135 digs, while senior Ashley Ramos hits .208 with 122 kills and 27 blocks. Junior Kristin Watson is the America East leader in digs per set to total 221, adding five aces.
LAST MEETINGS: Including Mikala McCauley notching her 3,000th assist, UAlbany took down Hartford in three (25-23, 25-21, 25-11) on October 28th, 2016. McCauley had a double double of 28 assists and 14 digs while Chloe Evering hit .435 with 11 kills. Jenna Bridges had a team-best 10 kills and four blocks for Hartford.
Meeting in New Hampshire for the America East Tournament semifinal on November 18, 2016, UAlbany swept UMBC (25-19, 25-13, 25-15). Akuabata Okenwa hit .350 with nine kills and eight blocks while Chloe Evering notches 10 kills. Zoya Trendafilova had 10 kills and seven digs for UMBC.