Baltimore, MD – The UMBC Volleyball team (2-6) opened the Charm City Classic with losses to Robert Morris (25-21, 13-25, 11-25, 27-25, 15-8) in the morning opener and to James Madison (21-25, 25-10, 25-13, 25-23) in the night cap on Friday. Freshman Paige Krenik (Foothill Ranch, Calif.) led the Retrievers with 18 kills in the first match and 13 in the second match.
UMBC dropped the opening set to Robert Morris (2-6), but battled back to take the next two sets, holding Robert Morris to 13 and 11 points respectively in each set, including the third set, where the Retrievers jumped out to a 13-3 lead, thanks to kills from Franchesca Reed (Aurora, Colo.), Paola Rojas (San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico), Krytsia Negrón (San Juan, Puerto Rico), and Krenik. UMBC played strong defense in the set, never allowing Robert Morris to narrow the gap to less than nine points.
The fourth set was tight throughout, with neither team holding a lead of more than four points. UMBC fought late down 23-21 to force the score to be even at 25, but would drop the next two points to drop the set and eventually lose the set. The Retrievers went on a key 4-1 run late to take the lead 25-24 with a kill from Krenik and an ace from Brooke Hayden (Mt. Airy, Md./Linganore).
UMBC started the fifth set slow, falling down 9-3, and were unable to come back from the deficit and dropped the match.
Leading the way for UMBC in the match were Krenik with 18 kills (.255) and 12 digs, Carmen Freeman (Memphis, Tenn.) with 14 kills (.175) and 15 digs, Rojas with 15 kills (.483), and Negrón with 52 assists and 16 digs. Hayden also added 10 kills (.259) and two aces. Libero Kristin Watson recorded 17 digs in the match.
UMBC started out hot against James Madison (7-2) in the Friday night match, taking the first set 25-21. Krenik once again played a pivotal role on both sides of the ball, recording 13 kills and six digs, with six of her kills and an ace coming in the first set. The Retrievers battled back from an early 6-5 deficit and were able to hold off any run from the Dukes, never allowing them to score more than three points in a row.
The Retrievers dropped the next two sets after falling behind early in both. In the second set, Freeman and Reed recorded three straight kills to narrow the gap to nine points, all assisted from Taylor Dunn (Virginia Beach, Va.).
The fourth set was highlighted by a late push from UMBC, down 20-16. The Retrievers came within a point (24-23) after kills from Rojas, Reed, and Krenik, as well as attack errors from the Dukes. James Madison recorded the game winning point and took the set 25-23 to win the match.
Along with Krenik's strong game, Negrón recorded 32 more assists, and Watson recorded a match best 18 digs.
Before the match against James Madison, UMBC senior libero was honored in front of the home crowd for reaching the 1,000-career dig mark in the final game of the season last year against New Hampshire.
UMBC wraps up the Charm City Challenge with an afternoon match against in-state foe Loyola (Md.) at 2 PM. The Greyhounds dropped their first two games of the weekend tournament, also losing to James Madison (3-1) and Robert Morris (3-2).