By Christian Hince | September 25, 2022
The Danes left State College this weekend without a win to be seen. Defeats against Coastal Carolina, Penn State, and Howard have them now sitting at 3-10.
Photo Credit | UAlbany Athletics
Friday: Clash With the Chanticleers
UAlbany started an exciting first set in control, jumping out to a 9-4 lead. Keeping Coastal Carolina in striking distance for a bit, a 16-11 advantage was wiped out when the Chanticleers scored the next 9 of 11 points. Fortunes seemed difficult for the Danes trailing 22-20 near the round’s end, but five straight UAlbany points earned a hard-fought victory, 25-22.
In the second, some early back and forth was broken open when Coastal Carolina scored six straight to go up 12-7. The Chanticleers never ran away with it, leading by no more than five and watching a 20-15 get chopped to one with four straight UAlbany points. A couple exchanges later Coast Carolina was yet again up 22-20, this time holding on for a 25-20 win.
UAlbany opened the third set strong with the first four points, only for the Chanticleers to quickly tie it at five. The Danes continues to keep in control for a bit, going up 14-10 only to have this lead erased as well by five straight Coastal Carolina points. Neither team led by more than one until the end, as trailing the Chanticleers 24-23 at set point, UAlbany scored three in a row to take the round, 26-24.
Set #4 saw its fourth lead change by the time Coastal Carolina led 6-5, but the Chanticleers generally stayed in control beyond this point. UAlbany never went away though, drawing within one in the round’s final seconds. Again up 24-23, Coastal Carolina held on this time with a UAlbany attack error, winning 25-23.
Set five carried on the match’s competitive nature. The Chanticleers led most of the way, up 12-9 near the end, but the Danes came back to knot it at 13. This rally wasn’t enough though, as Coastal Carolina notched the final two to win the match. With this result, the Chanticleers moved up to 7-5.
Saturday I: A Host’s Sweep
The following day’s match against the hosting, eleventh ranked Penn State wasn’t nearly as competitive. A Noa Brach kill gave the Danes an early 5-4 lead in the first set, but the Nittany Lions took full control with a seven point run. Up by no less than four beyond this point, Penn State would build their lead into a resounding 25-12 victory.
In the second, the Nittany Lions scored the first seven points, soon holding a commanding 13-3 advantage. UAlbany’s best efforts couldn’t draw them closer than seven, falling 25-16.
Set three had a more optimistic start, with the Danes holding an early 4-2 lead. This was short-lived however, as Penn State scored the next 15 of 16 points for a dominant 17-5 lead. The Nittany Lions stayed the course for a 25-10 victory, completing their home court sweep and moving to 10-0.
Saturday II: A Howard Sweep
UAlbany started match three on far better footing, scoring the first three and going up 12-8 early. Howard came back to tie it at 19, making for a thrilling finish. After a Bison win at 24-23 was thwarted by an Anissia Wong kill and after a Danes win at 25-24 was held off by a service error from Wong, Howard notched the last two points for a 27-25 victory.
The Bison took control in set two, scoring the first four and soon sporting a commanding 15-5 lead. Failing to ever substantially cut into this advantage, UAlbany fell 25-14.
While Howard appeared to be running away in the third as well, up 9-4, a surge from the Danes knotted the score back at 10. This momentum was only temporary however, as the Bison scored the next six and built their lead into a dominant 25-16 victory, winning the day and moving to 6-6.
With his team leaving the invitational winless, head coach Josh Pickard was a bit disappointed albeit remaining optimistic. “There was a lot of growth on our side of the net but there were also a lot of chances that we left out there,” he said. “We have played a tough schedule so far this year and it’s showing through our growth.”
The Danes will return home on Sunday, September 19, where they’ll host the Chicago State Cougars.