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VOLLEYBALL SPLITS FINAL HOMESTAND; FAILS TO CLINCH AE TITLE

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Last weekend, the University at Albany’s women’s volleyball team split its final pair of home matches, sweeping Stony Brook 3-0 on Senior Day but falling to UMBC 3-2 on Sunday.

On Friday night, the team got off to a slow start in the opening set but ended up taking control of the match and swept Stony Brook in straight sets (28-26, 25-19, 25-20) behind Chloe Evering’s team-best 12 kills and Laini Leindecker’s near double-double (nine kills, 18 digs).

“It [Friday’s match] was a slow start but those things kind of happen when you have other things [Senior Day] going on,” UAlbany assistant coach Josh Pickard said. “The girls were amped up and excited to send the seniors out on top so we came out a little bit flat and had to turn it around but once we started doing our job and following the scouting report, we did much better.”

Two days later, the Great Danes concluded their home slate losing in a five-set thriller (25-19, 19-25, 25-18, 20-25, 7-15) to the Retrievers, a team which took UAlbany to four sets in the season’s previous meeting before UAlbany prevailed, 3-1.

When discussing what changes were made in the game plan between both matches, Pickard pointed out that UAlbany’s opponents were uniquely different. “Stony Brook is a little bit more middle-focused whereas UMBC focuses a little more on their outside so we had to switch our focus to make sure we were defending,” Pickard said. “We tried a couple of different defenses with varying results tonight and they ended up getting the best of us but it was us making adjustments, them readjusting and us then trying to counter what they had.”

With the loss, UAlbany was unable to secure a share of the America East title, but the team still has the chance to win a share of the title if they win on Friday at University of New Hampshire. However, the team’s coaching staff knows the task of clinching won’t be easy.

“We had a great match with UNH last time, went five [sets] and won 18-16 in the 5th so I mean that is as close as two teams can get. It’s always a great match when we play them. They’re tough competitors, they got a great group of kids and it’s going to be a fun match. We know that we’re going to have to play our best to beat them,” Pickard said. “Going into their place, end of the season, probably their senior night so they’re going to be amped up and we know we’re going to have to play tough. We’re going to watch a lot of film this week, we’re going to figure out what we did wrong, we’re going to figure out what we need to do right and move on from there.”

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