Hitting percentage difference in weekend games
By Ryan B. Harrison
After dropping their America East conference opener 3-1 to Stony Brook University, the Retrievers improved their offensive play and took their second game of the weekend 3-2 over the Hartford Hawks.
Freshman middle blocker Paola Rojas got her career as a Retriever off to a fast start with a team-high 13 kills and eight digs against the Seawolves. Just two days later she played a major role in UMBC’s first conference win of the season with nine kills, six digs and two solo blocks. Rojas missed the entire non-conference portion of the season with an injury.
UMBC posted a season high 58 digs in the loss to Stony Brook, only to turn around and best that effort in their victory over Hartford. Sophomore libero Casey Griffith led the Retrievers’ defense in both matches. Griffith’s 21 digs against Hartford was a match high, and the fourth time this season she has topped the 20 dig mark. The sophomore is fifth in the conference with an average of 4.09 digs per set.
The Retrievers hit .102 against the Seawolves, landing 40 of their 137 attempts throughout the match. UMBC was able to pull their hitting percentage up to .224 against the Hawks, thanks in large part to senior outside hitter Hannah Schmidt’s 19 kills. The senior co-captain is second on the team with 130 kills so far this season, trailing only redshirt junior Krystal Mlemchukwu and her 138 kills.
Junior setter Paige Miller dished out 79 assists across the two matches. Miller sits fourth in the conference in assists, but UMBC as a team ranks seventh with an average of 9.87 assists per set. The Retrievers’ serving game is still going strong, and they lead the conference with an average of 1.56 aces per set. They were able to put down seven against Stony Brook, and four against Hartford.
The Retrievers face the University of Massachusetts Lowell in their first home conference game on Friday. The River Hawks have dropped their first three conference matches, which include losses to the University of New Hampshire, the University at Albany and Binghamton University. UMass Lowell is 2-17 this season, and ranks at the bottom of pack in hitting percentage in the America East with a .084 average.
The Retrievers will be playing just their third home game this season. UMBC spent an extended portion of their non-conference schedule on extended trips, first to Utah for the BYU Invitational and then to Arizona for the Wildcat Classic, hosted by the University of Arizona. Their two previous home games were played as host of the Madie Bingaman Tournament, held annually at the Retriever Athletic Center.