By ANDREW YOURELL
The volleyball team will be doing its best Frank Sinatra “New York, New York” impression this weekend, with road games against the University at Albany and Binghamton University. Both schools are America East rival schools.
The Wildcats will battle the Albany Great Danes on Friday, Oct. 2, in Albany’s University Gym. For Albany, the 7 p.m. match will serve as both the home opener, and the first chance for Albany to try and defeat the back-to-back reigning America East Champion Wildcats.
UNH enters the matchup with a 9-7 (1-0, America East) record. The Great Danes are under .500, with a 6-7 overall record, though they’ve won their first America East conference game as well, a five-set thriller at Binghamton.
The Great Danes hold an 18-15 all-time lead in the series, though the Wildcats won two of three matchups with Albany last year. The match will be a chance for revenge for the Great Danes, who lost last year’s America East conference title game to UNH in four sets. Albany grabbed the match’s second set, and was leading in the third set, but UNH, led by then-sophomore Demi Muses, stormed back to win the third and fourth sets. Muses finished the game with 14 kills, 15 digs, and five blocks, which solidified her selection as the America East Championships’ Most Outstanding Player.
Albany is led by reigning America East Player of the Week Laini Leindecker, who tallied 15 kills and 22 digs in the win against Binghamton. Leindecker is the conference’s leader in kills per set this season, and has 171 kills and 175 digs. The Great Danes also boast the two-time defending America East Defensive Specialist of the week, Nicole Otero, who has 254 digs and 10 service aces in 2015.
Binghamton has a 3-12 record in 2015, and is 0-1 in America East following the loss to Albany. In their home opener, the Bearcats jumped out to a 2-0 lead in front of a record 577-person crowd. But they dropped the final three sets, and the match.
Setter Sarah Ngo logged 49 assists and 20 digs to lead the Bearcats in the loss. Also playing well were Megan Burgess, with 16 kills, three blocks and a service ace, and Gabby Alicea, who had 16 kills, two blocks, and two aces.
Before the Wildcats come to play, Binghamton hosts the Hartford Hawks, who fell in a 3-0 rout to UNH last week to fall to 0-15 on the season and 0-1 in America East play. The UNH-Binghamton game will start at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 4.
Both games are advertised for online screening at AmericaEast.com. Cheer on your Wildcats!
‘Cats set for NY road trip
By ANDREW YOURELL