Mirabella's Monster Fifth Set Rallies Volleyball Past Stony Brook

Mirabella's Monster Fifth Set Rallies Volleyball Past Stony Brook

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Baltimore -- Junior Abbie Mirabella (Hockessin, Del./St. Mark's) delivered seven of her game-high 19 kills in the fifth set as the UMBC Volleyball team (10-3, 1-0) rallied from a set down to top Stony Brook (24-26, 25-23, 14-25, 25-14, 15-10) in the America East opener for both teams, Friday night at The RAC.

In the fifth set, Mirabella hit .500, while hitting .368 for the match and added a career-high 14 digs to pace the Retrievers. Setter Claudia Lopez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico/Academia Maria Reina) also recorded a double-double with 46 assists and 11 digs versus Stony Brook (4-11, 0-1).

Fran Reed (Aurora, Col./Grandview) also helped with career highs in kills (10) and blocks (5) as UMBC won for the eighth time in the last nine matches. Kristin Watson (Bowie, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt) added 19 digs plus four assists.   

Head Coach Ian Blanchard enjoyed watching his team win in its first conference match.

"It was a huge win for us," he said. "I love our resilience. This team knows how to fight and never gives up. Abbie once again led us with her strong hitting. Claudia made great decisions down the stretch, and Watson made very big defensive plays."

The first set was back-and-forth until UMBC pulled ahead 24-21. Then, the Seawolves rallied and scored the five straight to take the set and a 1-0 lead. 

In the second set, there was more of the same. The set was tied at 23 when Brooke Hayden (Mt. Airy/Linganore) and Emily Panchak (Wilmington, Del./Concord/Wichita State) teamed up for a crucial block that got the Retrievers to set point.

Hayden (nine kills, nine digs, five blocks) then got an ace which won the set and tied the match.

Stony Brook rolled to an easy victory in the third set before UMBC answered with a 25-14 victory in the fourth. The Retrievers broke away late after holding just an 11-10 lead midway through. 

Mirabella played a big role on offense in that fourth set, where she finished with five kills and hit .400. Then, in the decisive fifth set, Mirabella posted the seven kills -- one more than the entire Stony Brook team.

UMBC now gets a week off before heading north to face three-time defending America East champion New Hampshire next Friday at 7 p.m.