Rally Falls Short as UMBC Drops Five-Setter at Binghamton

Sophomore Sherelle Walker
Sophomore Sherelle Walker

VESTAL, N.Y. – Four Retrievers notched double-digit kills, led by 15 from sophomore Sherelle Walker (New Freedom, Pa./Susquehannock), as UMBC rallied to force a fifth set against Binghamton, but the comeback fell short as the Bearcats claimed the match in five sets (25-20, 25-20, 14-25, 18-25, 15-11), Saturday afternoon in an America East contest at West Gymnasium.

Seniors Ali Goc (Oshawa, Ontario/R.S. McLaughlin) and Mallory McIntyre (Winnipeg, Manitoba/St. Mary's Academy) each recorded double-doubles for UMBC (12-8, 3-2 AE), who survived a five-set contest at Albany less than 24 hours prior.  Goc sent down 11 kills and picked up 16 digs while McIntyre handed out 47 assists and scooped up 11 digs.

Allison Hovie slammed 19 kills for Binghamton (4-14, 2-3 AE) to lead all hitters while also recording 15 digs to complete the double-double.  Megan Burgess was also in double figures with 14 kills for the Bearcats.

The Retrievers used a stout defense to make the rally and wound up outhitting Binghamton, .244-.179, and registering 10.5 blocks compared to the Bearcats' 6.0.

The first set was indicative of the way the match would unfold as the two squads traded the lead three times and were level on nine other occasions.  After Goc put UMBC up 9-8 in the frame, the hosts claimed three straight and held the Retrievers at bay from there.  UMBC cut the lead to two at 16-14, and then rallied again late, but could not come all the way back as Binghamton took the opener, 25-20.

In the second set, the Bearcats took the lead from the very first point and never allowed UMBC to get much traction.  The hosts built a set-best nine-point lead following a bad UMBC set, but the Retrievers would not go lightly.  UMBC then went on an 11-3 run, pulling to within just one courtesy of a block by senior Emily Witsaman (Medina, Ohio/Medina) and junior Hannah Schmidt (Catonsville, Md./Mount de Sales).  BU was able to stem the tide, however, and saw out the set by claiming five of the next six points.

The Retrievers came out of the break swinging and earned the first five points of the third set, the last coming on a kill by sophomore Krystal Mlemchukwu (Baltimore, Md./Western Tech).   Binghamton cut the lead to two at 6-4, but UMBC regained control, eventually building a ten-point lead, 18-8, following kills from Goc, Walker, and Witsaman.  Hovie broke the streak for Binghamton, but the Retrievers stayed on the attack by winning the next four points for a 22-9 lead. On set point, Mlemchukwu powered down a kill to force a fourth set.

Binghamton took the early lead in the fourth, 4-2, but the Retrievers came right back to claim five of the next six rallies to steal the lead back, punctuated by a service ace by Walker for an 8-5 advantage.  BU inched back and cut the lead to one, however the Retrievers would not give it up and built the lead back to six, 21-15, on an ace by senior Robbin Lee (Olney, Md./Sherwood).  UMBC then forced a decisive fifth set by winning the final three rallies of the frame for a 25-18 set win.

The Bearcats opened the final frame by winning the first three points, but UMBC cut back quickly and pulled level at 4-4 on a Binghamton attack error.  The Retrievers could not get over the hump, though, and BU quickly built a 10-6 lead.  A kill by Witsaman and a block by the senior and her classmate McIntye, drew UMBC back within three, 11-8, but the Bearcats held off the charge and took the final set, 15-11.

UMBC now returns home to host Hartford and Providence next weekend at the RAC Arena.

Dawg Bites

-          Binghamton now holds a 16-10 all-time lead with a 14-7 advantage in America East regular season contests.

-          Freshman libero Casey Griffith (King of Prussia, Pa./Upper Merion) recorded a team-best 24 digs against BU after scooping up a career-high 28 Friday night at Albany.