The Binghamton University volleyball team started the second half of its America East conference season this weekend with a loss to University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The Bearcats (7-16, 4-3 AE), who had previously swept the Retrievers (11-13, 4-3 AE) in their conference opener on Sept. 21, fell in a close, four-set match (18-25, 14-25, 25-20, 18-25) at the RAC Arena on Friday night.
Sophomore outside hitter Kristin Hovie led the Bearcats with 13 kills. Senior outside hitter Iva Partaleva, who recorded 11 terminations, and sophomore setter Amanda Dettmann, who had 38 assists, also posted notable performances.
The Bearcats had a slight 10-6 lead early in the first set, but UMBC overtook BU with a 7-0 run and never looked back, capturing the first set, 25-18. After the second set saw seven early tied scores, the Retrievers took off on another run, this time posting a streak of nine unanswered points on their way to their second victory of the night.
Binghamton was able to gain control early in the third set with a 7-3 lead and got timely kills from junior middle hitter Grace Vickers and Partaleva to secure a 25-20 win. But down 2-1, the Bearcats were not able to build off their third set win and dropped the fourth set 18-25 to give UMBC the match.
“We didn’t play up to our potential,” Binghamton head coach Glenn Kiriyama said. “Too many unforced errors. UMBC played well. They had great hitters and a very efficient offense.”
Vickers thought that missed opportunities were her team’s undoing.
“Obviously it’s disappointing, they were a very beatable team,” Vickers said. “But every team has nights where they can’t put it together. Despite very impressive hitting performances from my teammates, we had too many errors. You can’t win with errors.”
Friday’s loss snapped Binghamton’s streak of two straight conference wins, which came against University of Hartford and Stony Brook University.
This upcoming weekend, the Bearcats are scheduled to visit University of New Hampshire on Friday and Providence College on Sunday. The Bearcats lost in a close 3-1 match to UNH last time around, and beat Providence in their second conference game, 3-0.
“I’m excited because this weekend will play a big factor in if we make it to conference tournament or not,” Dettmann said. “We keep improving every practice so we’re doing the most we can to get better.”
The Bearcats are currently tied for third place in the conference with UMBC. The Bearcats need to finish in the top four in order to make it into the postseason.
“We’re still working on small things,” Kiriyama said. “We know we’re going to have to play better in the stretch here if we’re going to make it to the conference tournament.”
Friday’s game against UNH is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. at Lundholm Gymnasium.