Bearcats, Great Danes Advance to Volleyball Final In Thrillers

Release: 11/21/2008
Albany and Binghamton will meet for the title in a repeat of the 2005 Championship.
Albany and Binghamton will meet for the title in a repeat of the 2005 Championship.
Courtesy: America East Communications

ALBANY, N.Y.-- University at Albany and Binghamton University will meet Saturday afternoon in Albany, N.Y. to play for the 2008 America East Volleyball Championship trophy. The second-seeded Bearcats advanced with a 3-2 win over third-seeded UMBC, while top-seeded Albany defeated fourth-seeded Maine, 3-1, in the second semifinal on Friday.

The tournament final, a repeat of the 2005 America East Volleyball Championship, will be played at Albany's University Gym Saturday at 4 p.m. Live stats and live video will both be available. The winner of the conference tournament will earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Championship.

The Bearcats and Retrievers traded momentum the entire match before Binghamton secured the 3-2 win by set scores of 25-15, 17-25, 25-18, 14-25 and 15-10. Binghamton sophomore Michelle McDonough, a first-team All-Conference honoree, finished the match with 21 kills, 11 digs and five blocks, while senior Ashley Allen and sophomore Anna Lejina each recorded 12 kills. Three Retrievers posted double-doubles for the match, including junior Ashley Oscars (17 kills, 13 digs), Rookie of the Year Alyssa Lang (14 kills, 15 digs) and junior setter Kira Giles (49 assists, 11 digs).

Albany got off to a slow start, falling in the first set, 20-25, and hitting -.105. The Great Danes rebounded, though, winning the next three highly-contested sets, 25-20, 28-26, 25-20.

Junior Cate Eckhardt led the team with 15 kills and dug out 10 balls for a double-double. First-Team All-Conference sophomore Amanda Cowdrey finished with 13 kills and 10 digs, while Setter of the Year sophomore Brooke Stanley was the third Great Dane to record a double-double with 40 assists and 10 digs.

Senior outside hitter Laura Goettsch hit at a .333 clip for a team-high 17 kills and posted 21 digs. Four Black Bears finished with double-digit digs.