UAlbany Volleyball Continues Road Travels at UML, UNH
LOWELL, Mass. – The UAlbany volleyball team continues its conference road schedule with two matches in New England, taking on UMass Lowell on Friday, October 27th at 7 p.m. then playing a rematch of the 2016 league title game at UNH on Sunday, October 29th at 1 p.m.
The UAlbany-UML match will air on AmericaEast.tv while the UAlbany-UNH match will be on AE on ESPN3.
All teams are in the second half of America East play, with three weekends left until the league tournament.
UAlbany has won five consecutive matches to take first place in the America East, winning in four at UMBC on Sunday for a 6-1 league record and 6-13 overall tally. UMass Lowell has fallen in six straight contests, the last a three-set defeat at New Hampshire, to stand at 0-7 in the America East and 5-15 overall. After that victory vs. UMass Lowell, UNH is tied for second in the league at 5-2. UNH enters the weekend at 10-11 overall, starting with a Friday match vs. Binghamton.
UAlbany defeated UMass Lowell in four sets on September 30th, improving to 9-0 against the River Hawks in the DI era. With UNH winning in five sets on October 29th, the all-time series against UAlbany is tied at 20-20.
UALBANY TRIO EARNS AMERICA EAST WEEKLY AWARDS AGAIN: Three UAlbany volleyball players have earned America East weekly honors, all repeating from last week: Nicole Otero repeats as the America East Defensive Specialist of the Week, Kelly Cameron is again the America East Setter of the Week while Tatiana Tiangco maintains America East Rookie of the Week.
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.
LAST TIME: UALBANY WINS TWO TO TAKE FIRST PLACE: UAlbany won a pair of road matches last weekend, defeating Binghamton in three (27-25, 25-20, 25-20) and UMBC in four (25-18, 25-22, 20-25, 25-15) to take sole possession of first place in the America East.
Three Great Danes had double digit kills in each match: Tatiana Tiangco combined for 26 kills while Aquabata Okenwa and Chloe Evering each had 24. Nicole Otero averaged 6.1 digs per set to finish with 43, adding six assists.
APPROACHING ENGSTROM’S 100TH LEAGUE WIN: As UAlbany’s head coach, MJ Engstrom is seven league victories away from her 100th win in America East regular season play. In total, Engstrom’s UAlbany teams are 95-20 (82.6%) 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: Standing fourth in the America East with 3.31 kills per set, sophomore outside hitter Katherine Claybaugh has 222 kills, 13 aces and 183 digs. The second option is sophomore hitter Madi Bell, having 148 kills and 25 blocks. Junior Lindsey Visvardis is the libero with 319 digs and 20 aces.
Two UNH players have over 200 kills: sophomore outside hitter Kennedi Smith hits .214 with 241 kills, 19 aces and 180 digs while junior middle blocker Gabri Olhava hits .279 with 207 kills, 29 aces and 55 total blocks. Sophomore Logan Welti is the libero with 344 digs and 14 aces.
LAST MEETINGS: UAlbany had a quick turnaround on Saturday, October 30th, defeating UMass Lowell in four (25-16, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23). Two UAlbany players had double doubles: Akuabata Okenwa hit .378 with 16 kills and 14 digs while Kelly Cameron had 38 assists and 20 digs. Katherine Claybaugh led UML with 21 kills and 16 digs.
UAlbany’s two-set lead did not hold in a five-set (25-14, 25-21, 19-25, 18-25, 9-15) defeat vs. UNH on Friday, October 29th. Akuabata Okenwa notched a double double, hitting .326 with 16 kills and 14 digs. Gabi Olhava led UNH, hitting .393 with 13 kills and two blocks.