Thrilling Victories Rewarded With Weekly Awards
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.-- The weekend in volleyball was certainly not a dull one as several teams came out of the weekend with come-from-behind, five-set wins. All three of this week's award-winners had a lot to do with the outcomes, beginning with Binghamton University senior outside hitter Anna Lejina (Riga, Latvia/Riga Secondary) who captured the Player of the Week recognition. Rookie of the Week outside hitter Dionna Kirton (Everett, Wash./King's) from University of Hartford played a big role in Sunday's victory which snapped Albany's 26-match conference regular-season win streak. UMBC junior Alexandria Spaay (Kenosha, Wis./Kenosha Tremper), the Setter of the Week, used season highs to quarterback the Retrievers a 2-0 week, including a thrilling win over New Hampshire.
Lejina led the Bearcats to two wins last week, which moved Binghamton into a tie atop the league standings. Lejina helped the Bearcats to a sweep at Hartford to begin the week, then end the week on a high note with a come-from-behind, 3-2 victory at Stony Brook. The senior outside hitter finished with 4.38 kills per set, first in all league action last week, and .321 hitting, sixth in America East last week. She also added 1.75 digs per set, three blocks and 4.62 points per set.
Against the Seawolves, Lejina tallied 20 kills, five digs, a solo block and .255 hitting. After the Bearcats rallied from behind in the fifth set, it was Lejina's final two kills that secured the win for Binghamton. Against the Hawks earlier in the week, she finished with 15 kills, nine digs, two block assists and a match-high .419 clip. This is Lejina's first weekly honor of the season.
Kirton completed a solid week for the Hawks with 3.75 digs per set, tied for fifth in America East, and 2.50 kills per set. Kirton's best effort of the week came in the 3-2 defeat of Albany, Hartford's first conference win of the season. Against the Great Danes, the rookie executed a double-double with 14 kills on .250 hitting and a career-high 19 digs.
Earlier in the week against Binghamton, Kirton put forth a six-kill, 11-dig performance. In league action, Kirton leads the team defensively with 3.27 digs per set. This is her second weekly rookie award of the season.
Spaay paced the Retrievers both offensively and defensively last week in two wins, including a 3-2 thriller at New Hampshire. The junior quarterbacked the offense, dishing out a league-high 10.56 assists per set. On the defensive end, she recorded 4.89 digs per set, second-most in America East last week. She also added four aces and three blocks.
In the five-set win over the Wildcats, Spaay registered 45 assists and 30 digs. In a 3-1 win over Providence, Spaay reached the half-century mark with 50 assists, along with 14 digs, two blocks and two kills.
Albany (14-6 overall, 4-1 America East record) split two conference matches over the weekend on the road... The Great Danes defeated Stony Brook, 3-0, on Friday before falling to Hartford, 3-2, on Sunday... The loss to the Hawks ended Albany's 26-match win streak in conference play... Casey Wright (Ballston Spa, N.Y./Ballston Spa) led the Great Danes, averaging 3.75 kills per set on .375 hitting... Teresa Coppiellie (Canton, Mich./Salem) averaged 3.12 kills and 2.62 digs per set to go along with three service aces... Traci Vandegrift (Mogodore, Ohio/Field) also averaged 3.12 kills, along with 2.75 digs, plus added five blocks and one service ace... Setter Abbey Wexel (Virginia Beach, Va./Frank W. Cox) averaged 9.88 assists per set and added 2.25 digs, five kills, three service aces and two block assists... The Great Danes totaled 14 service aces in two matches, while allowing opponents just five... Albany will return to action over the weekend, hosting Binghamton on Friday night before visiting the Bearcats on Sunday afternoon.
Binghamton University (9-11, 4-1 AE) increased its win streak to four as it defeated Hartford Friday evening and Stony Brook Sunday afternoon... The Bearcats were able to pick up a pair of road victories on the strength of their offense, hitting .283 over the two games... In its first game of the week Binghamton traveled to Hartford and came away with the sweep... The Bearcats came out firing against the Hawks hitting over .300 in each of the first two sets to take a 2-0 lead... Binghamton finished off Hartford, 30-28, in the final frame... The senior hitting duo of Michelle McDonough (Orlando Hills, Ill./Andrew) and Anna Lejina (Riga, Latvia/Riga Secondary/U. of Latvia) led Binghamton with double-digit kills each... Junior setter Julie Chambers (Nichols, N.Y./Tioga) dished out a game-high 37 assists and freshman Xiomara Ortiz picked up 14 digs... Binghamton made a thrilling comeback to knock off Stony Brook in five sets... After falling behind early two sets to none, Binghamton began its resurgence... Binghamton used an all-around performance to take the next two sets... Binghamton hit .292 and .259 in the third and fourth sets, respectively, while holding Stony Brook to hitting percentages of just .031 and .032 in that span... In the deciding set Binghamton fell behind, 8-2, as the teams switched sides... Binghamton fought off three match points to even the fifth set at 14 before back-to-back kills by Lejina gave Binghamton the exciting victory... Binghamton returns to action Friday, Oct. 22 at Albany, first serve is set for 7 p.m.
The Hawks (6-16, 1-4 AE) split a pair of conference matches this past week, falling to the Binghamton Bearcats in three sets before knocking off the undefeated Albany Great Danes in five sets at the Reich Famiily Pavilion on Sunday... The win is the first conference victory of the season for the Hawks, and the first over Albany since winning two against the Great Danes during the 2001 season... For the week, Kami Nethersole (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y./Hendrick Hudson) led all Hawks with 31 kills. She finished with a team best in both matches, starting the week off with 12 against the Bearcats, while adding a match-high 19 in the win over the Great Danes... For the week, she averaged just shy of 4.00 kills per set... Also among the leading hitters on the week was freshman outside hitter Dionna Kirton (Everett, Wash./King's) who finished wtih double-figure kills against Albany (14)... Hawks setter Lindsay Ford (Carson, Nev./Carson) captained the Hawks offense throughout the week, finishing with 30 assists against the Bearcats and 52 against the Great Danes, just the third time this season she has had 50+ assists... The Hawks will play a pair of conference matches in the coming week, with both coming against the Stony Brook Seawolves... The Hawks will first play in Long Island againt the Seawolves on Friday (7 p.m.) before welcoming them to West Hartford on Sunday (2 p.m.) to close out the home-and-home series. l Hartford vs. Albany Postgame l
UMBC (8-12, 4-2 AE) won two key away America East matches last week, coming from behind two sets to one against New Hampshire to win, 3-2, on Saturday and defeating Providence, 3-1, on Sunday... Junior Allie Spaay (Kenosha, Wis./Kenosha Tremper) led UMBC over the weekend with 95 assists (10.56 aps) and 44 digs (4.89 dps), including a UMBC season-high 30 digs in the victory over the Wildcats and a team season-high 50 assists in the four-set victory over the Friars... Against the Wildcats, sophomore Ali Loynachan (Whitby, Ontario, Canada/Sinclair) hit a team-high .320 with 11 kills and 18 digs, while freshman Ali Goc (Oshawa, Ontario, Canada/R.S. McLaughlin Collegiate) hit 14 kills and recorded eight digs... Against the Friars, two freshmen, Hallie Carter (Huntington Beach, Calif./Edison) and Goc, each tallied double-doubles. Carter had 15 digs and 10 kills, while Goc recorded 14 digs and 10 kills... The Retrievers return to action Wednesday when they host American at 7 p.m.
UNH (7-13, 2-3 AE) dropped a heart-breaking five-set match to conference foe UMBC... Set scores were 25-23, 27-29, 19-25, 25-20 and 15-8... Senior setter Sara Heldman (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove) finished one kill shy of a triple-double with 27 assists, 17 digs, nine kills and hit at a .391 clip... Heldman is just 21 digs shy of becoming just the second player in program history with 1,000 assists and 1,000 digs. Associate Head Coach Stacy Barnett is currently the only Wildcat to have accomplished this feat... Amy Keding (Northbrook, Ill./Glenbrook North) recorded a team-high 11 kills to go along with 16 digs, while freshman Morgan Thatcher (Brockton, Mass./Brockton) tallied 10 kills and senior Jayde Huxtable (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North) had a team-high 18 digs... The Wildcats return to action, Friday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. when they travel south to take on Providence College... It will mark the first meeting between the two teams since the Friars joined America East this season... The 'Cats then welcome Providence into Lundholm Gym on Sunday, Oct. 24 at 1 p.m.
The Providence College volleyball team (9-16, 1-4 AE) had a pair of matches on the week. First was a non-conference showdown with Central Connecticut State on Wednesday, October 3, which the Friars dropped in four sets... Junior MB Lauren Fletcher (Syracuse, N.Y./Marcellus) had a phenomenal match, posting a season-high 28 kills against the Blue Devils... Classmate Shelagh Dolan (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy) added 11 kills, while hitting .258... Another junior, setter Carly Morrison (Larkspur, Calif./Redwood) had a solid day, picking up 46 assists... Senior co-captain Emily Morris (Hermosa Beach, Calif./Marymount) added a season-high 24 digs... The Friars returned to league play on Sunday, October 17, when they hosted UMBC, with the Retrievers taking the match in four sets... Providence was led by Dolan, who notched 10 kills while also adding six digs... Morris and Fletcher each added eight kills. Morris also recorded 11 digs... The Friars have three matches in the upcoming week. First, is a showdown with intrastate rival Bryant on Wednesday, October 20. Then the Friars have a pair of league matches with New Hampshire, first in Providence on Friday, October 22, then in Durham, N.H., on Sunday, October 24.
The Seawolves (7-14, 2-3 AE) dropped two home matches this week, falling to Albany, 3-0, on Friday before dropping a 3-2 thriller to Binghamton on Sunday... Junior Alicia Nelson (Apple Valley, Minn.) and senior Ashley Headen (Alexandria, Va.) combined for 25 kills against Albany... Nelson tied a career high with 21 kills against Binghamton on Sunday, leading three Seawolves who reached double-figures. She also came one dig short of recording her sixth double-double of the season... The Seawolves hit .450 in the 25-14 set two win against Binghamton... Headen finished the match with 18 kills while freshman Evann Slaughter (Clinton, Md.) added 10 kills... Freshman Masa Balandzic (Pljevlja, Montenegro) had four service aces against Binghamton... The Seawolves are now 2-2 in five-set matches following the loss to Binghamton... Stony Brook is in the midst of a stretch in which it will play six of seven matches at home. l SBU vs. Binghamton Highlights l