Conteh Shines in Debut as Volleyball Defeats Lafayette, but Drops Five-Setter to Fairfield

Photo: Brian Gonzalez
Photo: Brian Gonzalez
Baltimore -- The UMBC Volleyball team opened the 2019 season by splitting two matches in the UMBC Invitational on Friday at the UMBC Event Center. 
The Retrievers won their first match, beating Lafayette in four sets, before falling to Fairfield in five sets later in the day. 
In the Lafayette match, UMBC won 25-18, 25-22, 13-25, 25-23. The Retrievers used strong performances from different players to pull out the victory in the season opener. 
The Retrievers used a team-high 22 kills from freshman outside hitter Kamani Conteh (New Castle, Del.) plus eight more from junior outside hitter Carmen Freeman (Memphis, Tenn.). Plus, redshirt junior setter Taylor Dunn (Virginia Beach, Va.) sparked the offense with a team-high 30 assists. 
Also, freshman setter Riley Putnicki (Monument, Colo.) helped out with 16 assists. Dunn and Putnicki combined for 46 of the team's 51 assists in this match. 
The Retrievers dropped the Fairfield match as the Stags won in five sets, edging UMBC 15-12 to win the last set and the match. Overall, Fairfield won 22-25, 25-22, 25-18, 17-25, 15-12.
UMBC again got a strong effort from Dunn at setter as she topped her efforts in the first match with 32 assists. Putnicki helped again with nine more as both kept the Retrievers moving on offense. 
Freeman led UMBC with 14 kills while Franchesca Reed (Aurora, Colo.) added 12, and Conteh pitched in with 12 more. The final set was close and tied at 12 before the Stags scored the final three points to pull out the victory. 
The Retrievers play Temple in the final day of the UMBC Invitational Saturday at 2 p.m. Temple swept both Fairfield and Lafayette on Friday in the first day of the tournament.