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UMBC sweeps UMass Lowell, lock up third seed


With a 25-20, 25-20, 25-23 sweep of UMass Lowell on Friday night the UMBC volleyball team locked up the No. 3 seed in the America East Tournament. They still have an opportunity to earn a share of the regular season title with a win on Saturday and a UNH loss on Sunday, but due to tie-breakers the team will remain in the third seed.

UMBC locked up their seventh postseason appearance in nine years with an upset victory at first-place Albany last Sunday and didn’t suffer a let down match against the Riverhawks on Friday night to clinch the third-seed in the tournament.

Three players reached double-digit kill in the match as the Retrievers hit a blazing .321, besting UMass Lowell in each set in both kills and hitting-percentage.

“We had a really well-balanced offense tonight,” head coach Ian Blanchard said. “There have been a lot of things that we have worked on improving in our execution throughout the season and I am really happy that we have been able to put together a few really solid offensive matches.”

Outside hitters Ashley Ramos and Zoya Trendafilova smacked 13 and 11 kills, respectively, while middle blocker Franchesca Reed had 12 kills and hit an astounding .400 with a pair of blocks.

With setter Claudia Lopez out for a second-straight match, sophomore Krystia Negron continued her late-season surge with 39 assists for 49 Retriever kills. She also had three kills and seven digs.

UMBC was stuck in an early battle against the Riverhawks in the opening set, leading just 9-8, but outscored their opponent 9-3 over the next dozen points to take a commanding 18-11 lead. The Riverhawks attempted to inch back into contention, but a kill by Ramos and an attack error on the Riverhawks secured the set victory for the Retrievers.

UMass Lowell led 4-2 in the second set, but five-straight points for UMBC gave them back control of the set with a 7-4 lead.

Though that lead was cut down to one point, UMBC never lost their advantage. After a service error on UMBC made it a 16-14 score, the Retrievers went on a 5-1 run to great some needed distance before closing out the set with a kill by Ramos.

UMBC out-paced the Riverhawks out to an 11-7 lead in the third set. UMass Lowell would tie the match at 12-12, but UMBC was able to get the lead right back and keep ahead of their opponent. That was until a five-point run gave the Riverhawks a 22-20 lead late, but the Retrievers showed their resolve and scored five of the final six points to complete the sweep. UMBC had four kills in that final run with one by Trendafilova ending the match.

The Retrievers will have a quick turnaround with their senior night match on Saturday at 5 pm as their regular-season finale.

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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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