Albany, N.Y. – The University at Albany volleyball team will head out west to play second-ranked Stanford in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, Dec. 5, as announced by the NCAA during the Division I Selection Show on Sunday evening.

            UAlbany (23-8) won its third-straight America East Conference championship title this season. The Great Danes, who have won four of the last five conference crowns, are led by senior middle blocker Kamisha Kellam and sophomore middle blocker Amanda Cowdrey. Kellam, who averages 2.80 kills per set, was named the America East player of the year after recording 0.95 blocks per set and leading the conference with a .388 hitting percentage. All-Conference first team member Cowdrey led the team with 3.30 kills per set and was second on the team with 2.95 digs. Sophomore Brooke Stanley, who earned the conference’s setter of the year honor, led the conference with 10.56 assists per set and had a team-high 32 service aces.

            “It is really exciting,” said Kellam, a three-time all-conference honoree. “It’s going to be a tough match, but when you go into the National Tournament you have to be ready to play the best teams in the country, and we are.”

            No. 2 Stanford, one of just two teams in the country to play in all 28 NCAA Championships, posted a 26-3 overall record this season. The Cardinal are led by 6-foot-4 outside hitter Alix Klineman, who averages 3.58 kills per game. Stanford, which won its third straight Pacific-10 Conference title, are ranked third nationally in team hitting percentage, with a .316 efficiency. The Cardinal are also 17th in the nation in blocks, led by senior Foluke Akinradewo, who averages 1.48 blocks per set, and are also ninth in kills, recording 14.71 per set.

            Pepperdine and Long Beach State will play in the other first-round match at Palo Alto, with the winner playing either Stanford or Albany in the second round. One of these four teams will advance onto the Fort Collins Regional.

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NCAA Division I Volleyball Championship

Fort Collins, Colo. Regional

December 5-6, at Stanford, Calif.

Pepperdine (20-7) vs. Long Beach State (25-5)

UAlbany (23-8) vs. No. 2 Stanford (26-3)