By Christian Hince | September 19, 2022
University at Albany’s volleyball squad left this weekend’s Cornell invitational having won two of three matches, now sitting at 2-7 so far.
Friday: First of the Season
The Great Danes’ Friday match against Temple started neck-and-neck, with a 9-8 UAlbany advantage marking the first set’s sixth lead change. The Danes maintained a light advantage until the set’s climax when a Charlotte Macken attack error put Temple up 20-19. The Owls’ favor didn’t last long enough however, as a 22-21 lead was put to shame by four straight UAlbany points to put an end to the round, 25-22.
Set two was also well contested but saw more consistent momentum, with UAlbany leading by as much as three before Temple took their first lead at 9-8. The Owls’ had their moment too, leading by as much as three until the Great Danes jumped back in front with an Anna Myhal kill, 19-18. Some back and forth offense made for another tight finish, but it was UAlbany who won again, 25-22.
The third was a tale of day and night, with an early 9-3 UAlbany lead being eradicated by seven straight Temple points. Both squads tugged evenly to a 15-15 tie before the Owls took full control, pulling away for a 25-18 victory.
The match’s even rhythm returned in a competitive set four which saw its ninth tie at 13-13. A couple UAlbany points earned a slight buffer which Temple tightly followed until knotting the round back up at 22, only for the Danes to end the night by scoring the last three. UAlbany’s first win of the season dropped the Owls to 3-3.
Saturday I: Spoiling the Host
Against Cornell, UAlbany was victimized early by the host’s home court advantage, with the Big Red screaming out to a 12-2 lead in set one. This deficit didn’t get much worse but didn’t notably shrink either, as the home team started the day with a 25-15 win.
Fortune swung in the opposite direction during set two, with the Danes jumping in front 9-3. Cornell stayed alive for a bit, but UAlbany eventually took the round out of competitive reach, building their lead into a 25-12 victory.
Set three saw much more balance, with both teams trading blows until the Great Danes scored four straight to pull ahead 12-10. Cornell never faded from striking distance, going down by no more than four and being down 21-20 near the round’s end. The Big Red never closed UAlbany’s advantage however, falling 25-22.
The fourth set continued this competitive rhythm, with the Danes starting up 6-2 only for Cornell to knot things up at 8. Tied at 12 after exchanging several blows, the Big Red took their first lead with a 5-1 run, turning this into a 25-19 victory.
Cornell lost this spark by the time of the final set, falling behind 5-0 early. While the Big Red fought back to a 9-6 deficit, UAlbany scored the last six, winning 15-6 for a hard-earned road victory. Meanwhile, Cornell dropped to 2-3.
Saturday II: Colgate’s Weekend
In UAlbany’s final match of the road trip, it was Colgate who struck first, building an early 8-5 advantage. The Danes tallied four straight to take the lead, but this didn’t last. Despite tying three more times and keeping it close, trailing 20-18 in the late going, the Raiders began the night on top, 25-20.
The Great Danes scored first in set number two, however this was their only lead of the round. UAlbany took it down to the wire, coming back to tie things up at 16 and trailing 23-22, but Colgate proved conclusive again with a 25-22 win.
In a competitive third, an 11-11 tie was made a memory by a UAlbany five-point run. The Danes led by as much as six, and despite Colgate staying alive down 24-21, an Alexa Harris kill kept UAlbany for another set, 25-21.
The Raiders tallied the fourth’s first point, going up 6-2 early. After tying the set at 10, UAlbany’s first chance at a lead was erased by a five point Colgate run. The Great Danes made it exciting, trailing 24-22 in the final minutes, but it was Colgate who notched the final point, 25-22. The Raiders’ Saturday night win finished a 3-0 invitational run which put them at 7-2.
UAlbany head coach Josh Pickard left the weekend happy with the squad’s performance. “To come out 2-1 against this level of teams is a great finish,” he said. “We are growing every weekend and I’m excited to see what this team is capable of.”