Albany and Binghamton advance to the title game with wins in the semifinal round on Friday evening.
Albany, Binghamton Advance to Volleyball Championship Match
ALBANY, N.Y. - The 2012 America East Volleyball Championship title game is set, as No. 1 seed and host University at Albany and No. 2 seed Binghamton University advanced to the final with wins in the semifinal round on Friday at University Gym.
The second seeded Bearcats came from behind to beat No. 3 UMBC in five sets in the first contest, while Albany beat No. 4 New Hampshire in straight sets.
It is the fourth overall appearance in the America East title game for the Bearcats, while Albany will be playing in its seventh-straight final. It is also the third time the Great Danes and Bearcats will meet in the final, with the two squads splitting the first two matchups.
The 2012 America East Volleyball title game will be streamed live for free beginning at 6:55 p.m. on Saturday, November 17 from University at Albany's University Gym.
Binghamton 3, UMBC 2
Binghamton won nine-straight points after falling behind 9-6 in the fifth set to come from behind to beat UMBC in the first America East Volleyball Championship semifinal.
The Bearcats were actually outhit in the match by the Retriever .245 to .237, but Binghamton played outstanding fourth and fifth sets to dig out of a two-games-to-one hole. The Bearcats hit .324 in the fourth set and .318 in the decisive fifth set.
The match-up featured Co-Setters of the Year in UMBC's Mallory McIntyre and Binghamton's Amanda Dettmann. McIntyre finished with 47 assists and seven digs, while Dettmann had 48 assists, nine digs and five kills.
Iva Partaleva led the Bearcats with 21 kills, while Grace Vickers added 17 kills and a .389 hitting percentage. Xiomara Ortiz had a match-high 24 digs.
UMBC came out strong, winning the first set 25-15 with a .312 hitting percentage while holding the Bearcats to .097. The Retrievers got off to a 9-1 start in the set with a pair of freshmen in Sherelle Walker and Krystal Mlemchukwu doing the damage. Walker finished the match with a team-high 16 kills and a .361 hitting percentage, while Mlemchukwu added 15 kills.
Binghamton took the second set, holding on, 25-20, after going on an eight-point tear with the set knotted at five. Kristin Hovie had three kills during the run.
After the Retrievers won the third set, 25-20, the teams battled back-and-forth in the fourth frame. With the set even at 18, Hovie and Partaleva combined to finish of six of the final nine points to win the game 25-20 and send the match to a decisive fifth set. Alex Roland led the Bearcats with five kills in the set.
UMBC once again got off to a quick start in the fifth, scoring six of the first seven points before a timeout was called by Binghamton head coach Glenn Kiriyama, the America East Coach of the Year. The Bearcats came out of the timeout going on a 5-1 run of their own to climb within one point at 7-6 after three kills by Vickers.
Mlemchukwu responded with two-straight kills for the Retrievers to give the No. 3 seed a 9-6 lead.
The Bearcats answered by closing the match with nine-straight points, all served by Alexandra Warner who had two aces in the span. Vickers added three more kills to help close out the match.
It was the fourth time the two teams had matched up in the championship, with UMBC winning two of the first three meetings.
Albany 3, New
Two-time defending America East champions Albany swept No. 4 seed New Hampshire in the second semifinal at University Gym on Friday night to advance to its seventh-straight final and eighth in the last nine years.
Dunja Prgomet recorded a double-double with 16 kills and 11 digs, while America East Player of the Year Sara Pope added 11 kills. Viktoriia Stroilo, the America East Defensive Specialist of the Year, led the Great Dane defense with 18 digs.
Freshman Abby Brinkman paced New Hampshire with 10 kills while Sam Henke had 19 digs.
Neither team led by more than three points in the first and was tied as late as 23-23. Albany closed the set on an ace and a kill by Traci Vandergrift to go up 1-0 in the match. Prgomet led Albany with six kills in the set, while Gabby Whitworth had 12 assists.
After the second set was tied at 11, Albany closed the set by scoring 14 of the final 18 points. Vandergift and Prgomet came up big, combing for eight of Albany's final 14 points.
The Great Danes kept their foot on the gas to start the third set, staking themselves to a 13-2 lead. Albany was helped by five New Hampshire attack errors during that stretch. New Hampshire was only able to get as close as 10 points, and all-rookie team member Tatum Jungsten finished the match with a kill on an assist by Whitworth.
Whitworth finished with 37 assists, helping Albany to a .235 hitting percentage. New Hampshire was held to just .071 hitting percentage.
Albany will meet Binghamton at 7 p.m. at University Gym in the 2012 America East Volleyball title game. It will be streamed live for free on AmericaEast.com.