UMBC’s women’s volleyball took on the first place University of New Hampshire Wildcats and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, on a road trip that was crucial to the America East standings. New Hampshire sat in first place, one game ahead of the Retrievers heading into their matchup, while UMass Lowell, at the bottom of the Conference, was a team that UMBC needed to defeat. The weekend ended with both matches being straight set wins for the victors.
In game one, New Hampshire came to play on their home court, looking for their first America East title since 2003. The Retrievers fought back, but dropped the match in three sets. The closest set was the second which UMBC dropped by only two points in a heartbreaking fashion. That one set could have been huge in trying to turn around the match. However the final set was a 25-11 victory of New Hampshire, putting the Retrievers in the tough position of being two games back with only three to play.
The Retrievers saw another excellent performance from their senior Ali Goc; she led the team with nine kills in the game and was second in digs, with 15. Fellow senior Mallory McIntyre continued to dominate the assists total for her team. She picked up a team leading 22, which was 17 higher than any other member of her team. Freshman Casey Griffith had an impressive match as well, leading her team in digs with 18.
The Retrievers, looking to bounce back from their straight set loss to New Hampshire, travelled to UMass Lowell to battle the River Hawks. This was a game that UMBC was a heavy favorite in and needed to win in order to remain alive in their hopes for a share of the conference title. The Retrievers came up big, beating UMass Lowell in straight sets to improve to 8-4 on the conference season, and remain in second place in the conference. The River Hawks fell to 0-12 in conference play, in their first season in the America East.
The Retrievers won the first set 25-19, but that was as close as the match got. The team really stepped into gear in the final two sets, winning them by a total of 27 points. McIntyre had another solid effort, leading the team in assists with 27 and picking up 14 digs. Junior Hannah Schmidt led the team with 11 kills, and senior Emily Witsaman was close behind her with 10. Goc also played a big role in the win with 12 digs, good for second highest on the team.
The Retrievers now have just two games remaining before the conference championships. They travel to Providence University and the University of Hartford, both are teams below UMBC in the standings. The Retrievers will be the favorites heading into both of those games, and need wins in order to stay alive in their hopes for a share of the regular season conference title. They sit just two games back with only two to go. Also they are battling for the number two seed in the tournament, which could be crucial to getting the championship.