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Volleyball Update from Coach Sheffield

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Hello Friends, Family, and Alumni of UAlbany Volleyball!


Well, it was an emotional weekend for the volleyball team this past weekend. We opened it up at Maine on Friday night. We came out fired up and playing extremely well in game one. The serving was very aggressive and our side-out offense was at a very high percentage as we won 30-15. Game two the Black Bears really stepped it up. A very well played game offensively as both teams hit over .300. A couple of key plays and the home team went into the locker room with the match tied at one game apiece - 33-31. The rest of the match had a lot of highlights, unfortunately a few more for Maine as they ended up winning the match in five. The loss ended our chance at an undefeated regular season. The team was obviously very disappointed with this. The following night we had the opportunity to redeem ourselves against New Hampshire. It was a team that we had never beaten before at their place. It was also the first match in two months that we had played following a loss. Needless to say, the coaching staff was interested in seeing how we were going to respond. Game 1 we jumped out quick and hard with a 25-15 lead, only to see a large portion of that disappear before we ended up winning. Game 2 the momentum stayed with UNH as they ended up crushing us. To say there was a little concern from the team at that point would be correct. But to our credit, players really started battling and kept their composure when it might have been easier to do otherwise. The Great Danes won a great match over a very athletic and talented New Hampshire team in four. This was a great win for the team and ended our regular season with a 25-6 overall record and an America East record of 13-1. Different players stepped up at different times throughout the weekend. One constant at the end of the games was junior outside hitter, Ashley Hunter. When it was winning time on Saturday, she came through time and time again. Ashley offers a players perspective of the weekend:


"Over this past weekend we experienced something that hasn't happened to us in conference. We experienced a loss. Losing to Maine didn't feel good at all. Our hopes to be undefeated in conference were shattered that very moment. Maine played very well against us. When we picked up our game and fought, they fought right back just as hard. Losing to Maine and then having to play the next day against New Hampshire, a very competitive team, let us learn a lot about us as a team. We could've done one of two things after our loss to Maine. We could've come back fighting against New Hampshire or we could've dwelled on our loss and not shown up to play. With the type of team we are, we came back fighting. With this came encouragement and confidence for the weekend to come. We are ready to accomplish our new goals now and that is to win the American East Tournament Championship and be on our way to the NCAA's." This coming weekend we host the America East conference tournament for the first time in program history. We'd love to have the stands filled to capacity for the matches and make this an environment that is truly difficult for opposing teams to play in. If you haven't been to a match before, this is a great time. Every time UAlbany scores a point, you can echo the announcers "POINT DANES". After an ace, "ACE DANES!" On match point, shout with the team "YES!" every time we touch the ball, and "NO!" every time the opponents touch the ball.


America East Conference Tournament Schedule





I received an e-mail last week asking what should fans look for from teams. A couple of things: Binghamton: Is Crocus back? Ann Crocus is probably the most physical player in the conference. She broke her leg the first conference match of the season. The team has been shooting for her to return this week if they made the tournament. This is a great blocking team; they had 26 blocks in a match earlier in the season. If they come anywhere close to that number, it could be a long night. Outside hitter Michele Heck is a high flyer who loves to rip the cross-court shot.

Northeastern: Team plays with a lot of emotion and an edge. Will that help or hurt in the tournament? Defensively they can play with anybody in the nation. Senior libero Ashley Adamczyk used to play at Ohio St. and is very difficult to put the ball down on. The setter, defensive specialist, and outside hitter all love to carry on dialog with players on the other side of the net.

Maine: Coming into the tournament on a roll after beating the other three teams within the last week and a half. Middles are long and athletic and very difficult to stop. Outside hitter Kaili Jordan can out-jump a kangaroo. Very athletic setter and probably the second best serving team in the conference. Can anybody slow down their middles?

UAlbany: How aggressive is our serving during the tournament? How often are we "in system"? If we are passing well, we tend to get a lot of one-on-ones (hitter v. blocker) and is very difficult for opposing teams to stop. If our ball control is suffering, we have difficulties putting the ball away consistently against two or three blockers. There you have it. Thanks for all of the support. Hopefully we'll see some of you this weekend! If you can't be here in person, feel free to follow the live stats at www.americaeast.com. You can also get results at www.albany.edu or www.bigpurplefans.com or by calling the "Dane Line" at 442-DANE and choosing option 1.



Kelly Sheffield

UAlbany Volleyball

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