UAlbany Volleyball Finishes Non-League Play at CSU Tournament
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The UAlbany volleyball team will play its final in-season tournament of the year in the Centennial State, playing three matches in the Colorado State Tournament this weekend.
The UAlbany-Colorado State match will air online on the Mountain West Network. For those looking to attend the matches at the Moby Arena in Fort Collins, tickets start at $6 and are available through the Colorado State website.
UAlbany battles the tournament host, Colorado State, on Friday, September 15th at 9 p.m. ET at the Moby Arena. The next day, UAlbany takes on Colorado at 1 p.m. ET, then finishes with Xavier at 7 p.m. ET.
UAlbany fell in the three matches in the Villanova Classic, coming off a three-set defeat to the tournament host on Saturday, to come into the weekend at 0-9. Colorado State, a Mountain West team ranked #22 in the AVCA poll, has won eight straight, last a 3-0 win over Idaho State, to stand at 8-1. Pac-12 member Colorado is 7-1 overall this year, winning a five-set match at Illinois and is earning votes in the AVCA poll. After a four loss vs. North Florida, Xavier, out of the Big East, starts the weekend at 4-6.
UAlbany returns to Colorado State for the first time since 2011, falling in three to the Rams to trail in the all-time series 0-2. That year, UAlbany played Colorado twice, losing in four in Boulder and sweeping the Buffaloes in the Bronx for a 1-1 series tie. UAlbany and Xavier will meet for the first time.
UALBANY PREDICTED TO FINISH SECOND IN AMERICA EAST: The UAlbany volleyball team has been predicted to finish second in the America East in the 2017 season in the preseason coaches poll. UAlbany got two out of a possible six first place votes, getting 31 total points. New Hampshire, the defending America East champion, is predicted to finish first with 34 points with five first place votes.
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 1,072. The two-time America East All-Conference Second Team libero and 2015 America East Defensive Specialist of the Year has averaged 4.8 digs per set in her collegiate career and had at least 475 digs in each of her first two years.
She also is 29 digs away from tying for 10th all-time in UAlbany history with Ashley Reed, who had 1,101 digs from 2002-05.
LAST TIME: UALBANY FALLS IN THREE MATCHES IN VILLANOVA CLASSIC: UAlbany fell in a trio of matches at the Villanova Classic in Philadelphia to UConn, Princeton and VIllanova, all in three sets.
Akuabata Okenwa earned her second All-Tournament Team selection, leading UAlbany in kills each match. She hit .217 with 41 kills and 15 digs. Chloe Evering finished with 20 kills and five blocks while Nicole Otero had at least nine digs every match, totaling 43, adding three aces.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS: The leader in kills for Colorado State with 112 is redshirt freshman Breana Runnels, adding 22 total blocks. In the middle is sophomore Paulina Hougaard-Jensen, who hits .468 for 78 kills and a team-best 43 total blocks. Sophomore Katie Oleksak is the setter with 402 assists, 17 kills, 10 aces and 19 blocks.
With a team-high 103 kills for Colorado, junior outside hitter Alexa Smith swings at .319 with 54 digs. Junior middle blocker Naghede Abu, at 6-foot-4, hits .439 with 64 kills and 43 total blocks. At setter is freshman Brynna DeLuzio, who has tallied 315 assists, seven aces and 59 digs.
Xavier’s top outside hitter is Cincinnati-native senior Kristen Massa with team-leading 129 kills and 11 aces, adding 121 digs. Next in kills is senior Lauren Frilling with 80, hitting .280 with 10 aces and 41 total blocks. Redshirt junior Meredith Klare is the libero with 172 digs, averaging 4.5 a set.
LAST MEETINGS: In UAlbany’s second match of that day in Fort Collins, the Great Danes fell to tournament host and then #15-ranked Colorado State in three (20-25, 15-25, 25-27). Each Samantha Brostrom and Sara Pope had 11 kills while Brooke Stanley notched 32 assists, four kills and seven digs.
Meeting up in the Rose Hill Classic in the Bronx, UAlbany swept Colorado (25-22, 25-21, 25-18) on September 10, 2011. Dunja Prgomet hit .406 with a double double of 13 kills and 10 digs while Gabby Whitworth hit .571 for nine kills and five blocks.