ALBANY, N.Y.-- The University at Albany Great Danes defeated Binghamton, 3-0, by set scores of 25-13, 25-19, and 25-18 Saturday afternoon to capture the 2008 America East Volleyball Championship for the third straight year and fourth time in five years. Great Dane senior outside hitter Kamisha Kellam earned the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, held at Albany's University Gymnasium.
The Great Danes will learn their postseason fate during the NCAA Selection show on Sunday, November 30 live on ESPNU from 10-10:30 p.m. Albany won the conference's first-ever NCAA Championship match during last year's tournament, defeating Cleveland State, 3-0, before falling to eventual National Champion Penn State.
Albany came out strong from the beginning, hitting 13 kills at a .294 clip and holding Binghamton to a hitting percentage of -.023. Sophomore outside hitter Amanda Cowdrey, a member of the All-Championship Team, posted two solo blocks and hit five kills on seven attacks against no errors.
The hosts jumped out again in the second set to leads of 6-1 and 7-2. Laura Livergood had two aces sandwiching a Kalyn Mostert kill and a team block for four straight points and to give Albany a 16-7 advantage. Binghamton began to rally late in the set, going on their own five-point streak capped off by a Jaclyn Strader ace and an Anna Lejina kill. At 23-19 though, it was the closest the Bearcats would get, as Albany sealed the second set with two straight kills.
After the intermission, Binghamton gained some momentum jumping out to 4-1 and 10-5 leads. Albany, in front of their home crowd, refused to let down, rallying back to tie the set at 13-13 with a Brooke Stanley ace putting the exclamation mark on the come-back. The Great Danes took their first lead of the third set, 14-13, since 1-0 with a Hillary White solo block. Binghamton tied the set again at 14-14, but Albany went ahead 15-14 and didn't look back. The last point of the match was won by Kellam who rifled a kill onto Binghamton's side of the court.
Kellam finished with a team-high 10 kills with no errors and 21 attacks for a .476 hitting percentage. Cowdrey finished just a kill away from a double-double with nine kills and 14 digs. Cowdrey also added three total blocks. Albany sophomore setter Brooke Stanley dished out 28 assists and was also named to the All-Championship Team.
Binghamton's Michelle McDonough received All-Championship Team recognition after she posted a game-high 11 kills and six digs. Sophomore Anna Lejina also received the honor, joining McDonough in double-figures with 10 kills.
Maine's Laura Goettsch and UMBC's Ashley Oscars rounded out the seven-member All-Championship Team.
2008 America East Volleyball Championship
University Gymnasium, Albany, N.Y.
Friday, November 21 - Semifinals
#2 Binghamton def. #3 UMBC, 3-2
#1 Albany def. #4 Maine, 3-1
Saturday, November 22 - Final
Albany def. Binghamton, 3-0