Coming off the heel of a three game losing streak, UMBC women’s volleyball team returned to the RAC on Tuesday, Sept. 22 to face the La Salle Explorers. This would be the final game of conference play for the Retrievers, and victory could have brought Coach Blanchford’s side to 7-7 before beginning Conference play.
The Retrievers came out with a lack of energy and fell behind to drop the opening set 25-18, falling into an early hole that they were unable to escape. The second set was taken forcefully by the Retrievers, especially after a spell of dominance at the net on the Retriever side. The Retrievers commanded the third set until ending the period of a wave of errors that gave La Salle the boost to the 2-1 set lead. Coach Blanchford said about this turn of events, “It all came down to serving and receiving. They were serving it well and moving into the right positions to deal with out returns, and we weren’t focused in that department.”
Though the Retrievers held command for the most of the fourth set, they had to hold off a storm from La Salle that brought a 22-15 lead to 22-21, before the Retrievers were able to end the penultimate set out at 25-21. This led to a close and climactic fifth set, with the Retrievers falling in a close final set at 15-13. Retriever Coach Ian Blanchford expressed that, “It was a game where we showed a lack of focus and we were down a couple key players and we’re going to have to take it as a learning experience and refocus before we begin conference play.”
The Retrievers followed this game with their conference opener at Stony Brook University. The Retrievers were swept by Stony Brook, losing 3-0 and starting the season 0-1 in conference play. They next travel to Massachusetts to face conference foe University of Massachusetts Lowell, on Friday, Oct. 2.