With the regular season winding down, the Binghamton University volleyball team picked up two big wins this weekend, defeating both University of New Hampshire and Providence College in five sets. The Bearcats (9-16, 6-3 America East) moved into a second-place tie with the Wildcats (14-11, 6-3 AE), but fourth-place University of Maryland, Baltimore County trails Binghamton by just one game and Stony Brook University sits in fifth place, just a half-game behind the Retrievers (12-14, 5-4 AE) for the final postseason spot.
New Hampshire, which entered the weekend in sole possession of second place, defeated Binghamton in four sets in their last encounter. But on Friday, the Bearcats overcame a first set loss to beat the Wildcats with set scores of 21-25, 25-20, 25-13, 19-25, 18-16. Winless Providence (1-26, 0-9 AE) jumped out to a 2-0 set lead, but Binghamton rallied to win 17-25, 20-25, 25-13, 25-16, 15-12.
“I thought we played well this weekend,” senior middle hitter Alex Roland said. “I think that Friday night against UNH our team showed a lot of fight and character in tough situations and I’m just happy we came out with a win. It puts us in a good spot for conference. As far as Sunday, I thought we played really hard and fought back and played up to the level that we know how to play.”
At UNH, senior outside hitter Iva Partaleva recorded a career-high 23 kills and sophomore setter Amanda Dettmann racked up 50 assists and 16 digs. The Bearcats combined for 84 digs, a season high, and 57 kills.
“That whole match [against UNH] was a battle,” Binghamton head coach Glenn Kiriyama said. “We knew coming in it was going to be tough. The match was back and forth. The fifth [set was] the same thing, we got off to an early lead. We had a couple blocks and a kill, we were scrapping for points at the end. The victory, it was as big a victory as there’s ever been here, since I’ve been here.”
Against the Friars on Sunday, Partaleva had another impressive hitting performance, posting 22 kills to help lead the Bearcats back from the early deficit. Sophomore outside hitter Kristin Hovie also reached double digits in terminations with 11. Junior libero Xiomara Ortiz had a strong performance of her own, picking up 30 digs.
“The fact that we came back and won after a two-set deficit says a lot about our team,” junior captain and middle hitter Grace Vickers said.
The Bearcats are scheduled to play their final home matches of the season this weekend. Sunday’s game against first-place University at Albany will mark senior day, honoring Roland, Partaleva and Jordyn Suhr.
“The seniors have done a lot for this team,” Kiriyama said. “They will definitely be missed.”
But before senior day, the Bearcats are set to take on the University of Hartford at 7 p.m. on Friday. The Hawks (8-16, 2-6 AE) currently sit in fifth place. The senior day match against the Great Danes is set for 5 p.m. in the West Gym.