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UMBC volleyball falls to UNH, 3-1

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The UMBC volleyball team’s push to win the regular season title took a major hit on Sunday with a 3-1 loss to New Hampshire. The Retrievers dropped from second in the conference and one a half games back to fourth place in the America East and three wins behind the Great Days. The Wildcats and Binghamton Bearcats also jumped the Retrievers.

UMBC still sits safely in a playoff position, needing only one victory (or one Stony Brook or Hartford loss) in their final four matches to clinch a spot, but were unable to remain near the top of the standings with the 25-16, 27-29, 25-16, 25-20 loss.

“We did not compete at as a high a level as we normally do. Our execution offensively and defensively was not as crisp as we have been the last few weeks,” head coach Ian Blanchard said. “We discussed the need to play clean volleyball but were not able to execute that today. The good news is that we are still in a good position to keep playing well.”

Despite a strong net presence that resulted in nine blocks by the Retrievers, UMBC couldn’t take advantage as they hit just .138 and committed 59 errors in the match. The Wildcats did not hit too much better, just .206, but benefitted from the giveaways by the Retrievers.

Abbie Mirabella and Zoya Trendafilova led UMBC with 11 kills each.

New Hampshire jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the first set. UMBC cut in just a big with three of the next four points, but New Hampshire was able to create some more separation with three kills and an ace for four-straight points that continued on to be a 6-1 run.

The Wildcats led 15-6 after back-to-back kills by Demi Muses and Gabri Olhava. UMBC wasn’t even giving many points away in the first set, committing only four attacking errors, but the Wildcats had a match-best 18 kills in the first set, doubling UMBC’s total.

But it was an attacking error by UMBC’s Lauren Mortimer that put the Wildcats ahead by 11 points at 19-8. UMBC did scored five-straight points to get back within six, but the deficit was too great and New Hampshire cruised to the end of the set to take the lead in the match.

The Retrievers had the better start in the second set and were able to carry their early success to an 11-7 lead. UNH, however, scored five-straight points to take a 12-11 lead.

UMBC, though, responded with a 6-2 and got back ahead 17-14.

Neither team would relent in the second set. New Hampshire worked their back back in front to a 23-21 lead. UMBC wouldn’t allow them to even get a chance at a set point, however, with three-straight points to take a 24-23 lead. UMBC was the first team to line up for set point. But UNH saved it with a block on an attack by Mirabella and took the lead of an error by Ashley Ramos.

The Wildcats made things difficult for UMBC as a kill by Hannah Petke saved the set with a kill to tie the match at 26-26 and the two teams exchanged the next two points, but finally a kill by Megi Dervishi and an attack error by Muses got UMBC the two-point advantage they needed to win the set and even the match.

But despite UMBC taking a 7-4 lead in the third set, the Wildcats were never threatened the rest of the way. UNH scored six-straight points to take a 10-7 lead. Another 9-1 run by UNH put them ahead 22-13. UNH easily closed out the set to take the 2-1 lead in the match.

UNH took an 8-4 lead in the fourth set. The Retrievers eventually worked their way back to a 13-12 lead, but after three-straight Wildcat points, UNH never trailed again. The Retrievers kept the score close and even tied the set once, but couldn’t get the necessary kills to even the match again. Instead, UNH scored the last three points of the set to win the match.

UMBC will play two road conference matches in upstate New York when they travel to Binghamton on Friday and then go a few minutes up the road to take on the Great Danes in Albany. UMBC will return home the following weekend to host UMass Lowell and Hartford. Their last four matches will be used to secure a spot in the America East Tournament and positioning in the tournament.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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