Retriever Defense Stifles UMass Lowell, Sends UMBC to Three-Set Sweep

Senior Rebecca Garrigues
Senior Rebecca Garrigues

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BALTIMORE – UMBC held UMass Lowell to just .022 hitting while senior setter Rebecca Garrigues (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) handed out 29 assists as the Retrievers swept the River Hawks in three sets (25-11, 25-21, 25-14), Friday night in America East action at the RAC Arena.

Garrigues kept the UMBC (11-6, 2-0 AE) attack balanced all night as six different Retrievers recorded at least three kills.  The senior also scooped up 11 digs to complete her second double-double in as many matches.  Classmate Ali Goc (Oshawa, Ontario/R.S. McLaughlin) recorded a match-best nine kills for UMBC, while also leading the way with 13 digs.

As a team, UMBC hit .200 for the match and outdug UMass Lowell (0-13, 0-2 AE), 52-39.  The conference foes tied with 6.0 blocks each.

The teams opened evenly in the first set, with UMBC eventually inching out to a 9-5 lead after back-to-back kills from sophomore Krystal Mlemchukwu (Baltimore, Md./Western Tech) and then a putaway from junior Hannah Schmidt (Catonsville, Md./Mount de Sales).  Two consecutive River Hawk points cut the lead to two, 9-7, but UMBC responded with a 5-0 run to all but put the set away.  UMass Lowell would not win back-to-back points again and UMBC closed on an 11-3 streak for a 25-11 opening frame win, with Garrigues serving an ace on set point.

The hosts carried the momentum into the second set, claiming the first four points behind serving from Schmidt.  The visitors would not go away, however, finally drawing level at 9-9 on a Retriever attack error.  The teams would go on to trade the lead on two occasions and were tied a total of five times.  With the score knotted at 19-19, the hosts ran off three straight points to force a Rive Hawk timeout.  UMass Lowell earned the point out of the break, but could not pull all the way back as the Retrievers closed out the set with three straight points, the last on a kill by Goc.

UMBC once again opened brightly coming out of the intermission, picking up seven of the first eight points in the frame.  Following a timeout, the Retrievers extended the lead to eight, 10-2, on a kill from Mlemchukwu, but four consecutive River Hawk points cut the lead back to four, 10-6.  The teams then traded mini runs until UMBC sided out to push its lead to 19-14, and then Garrigues served it out with sophomore Sherelle Walker (New Freedom, Pa./Susquehannock) recording the last of her six kills to complete the sweep.

UMBC now wraps up its three-match home stand with a Sunday matinee match against New Hampshire.  The Retrievers and Wildcats are scheduled to take the court at 1 p.m. at the RAC Arena.


-          This was the first-ever meeting between UMBC and UMass Lowell.  The River Hawks made the transition to Division I prior to this season, joining the America East Conference.

-          The Retrievers are now 2-0 in conference play after starting the 2012 America East season 0-2.

-          Goc notched double figures in digs for the seventh consecutive contest.