It took nine games, but the Binghamton volleyball team earned its first win of 2013 this weekend in the final round of the Columbia Invitational. The Bearcats (1-8), who lost to Fordham and Boston College in the tournament’s first two rounds, defeated host Columbia in five sets on Saturday night in Manhattan.
Losing each of its first eight games, Binghamton snapped its worst-ever start to a season with the victory.
“It means a lot,” head coach Glenn Kiriyama said. “They’ve been working hard, and they’ve been searching for that first win. Hopefully it’s a sign of good things to come.”
Sophomore hitter Megan Burgess, who capped off a breakout weekend with a career-high 21 kills against the Lions (1-5), made the all-tournament team after averaging 3.42 kills per set on a .378 hitting percentage. Through the season’s first six matches, Burgess posted 35 kills. She posted 41 in this weekend’s three-game tournament.
“She’s been working hard on her hitting, her offense,” Kiriyama said. “I think a lot of it is just her confidence. Once she got going, it was really tough to stop her.”
Against Columbia, Burgess found an early rhythm. Her three kills and one block assist catalyzed a 14-9 Binghamton run that knotted the first set at 17, and her terminator with the score tied at 24 birthed a set point that the Bearcats would win.
Binghamton won a tightly contested second set, 28-26, as a Burgess kill evened the score at 24. Freshmen hitters Kelly Leach and Allison Hovie put the finishing touches on the set with a kill apiece.
The Lions refused to roll over, taking the next two sets by scores of 25-18 and 25-19, respectively. But the Bearcats pounced early in the deciding set, using a 6-0 run to take control. Burgess fittingly lifted Binghamton to a 15-8 victory with a service ace on match point.
Kiriyama said that his team entered the final frame in the right mindset, despite the lack of early success.
“They were pretty focused not just on the win but really every point,” Kiriyama said. “It was intense, and it was good to see them execute when they needed to.”
Junior setter Amanda Dettmann posted a career-high 57 assists in the victory. Despite finishing the weekend with 119 helpers, she did not make the all-tournament team.
Kiriyama praised the captain’s ability to set up the hot hitters.
“I think [Dettmann] was able to see what was working against Columbia’s defense, which hitters were having the most success on our side,” Kiriyama said. “She did a good job of distributing her sets.”
Before securing their first win of 2013, the Bearcats fell to Fordham on Friday evening and Boston College on Saturday afternoon.
Binghamton earned its first win of 2012 against the Rams (6-5), but after splitting the opening two sets on Friday, the Bearcats fell, 3-1. Burgess led the team with 16 kills, while Dettmann distributed 41 assists. The Bearcats hit .230 to the Rams’ .254.
Boston College (8-2) made quick work of Binghamton, dominating the first set, 25-13, and sweeping a 3-0 victory behind a .257 hitting percentage. Senior hitter Grace Vickers led the Bearcats with nine kills on a .316 hitting clip, but Binghamton hit just .090 as a team.
After opening 2013 with nine consecutive road matches, the Bearcats are set to host Siena in the home opener tonight. The Saints (1-8), who split two matches with Binghamton last season, have been swept in each of their last eight matches.
Siena ranks No. 305 out of 328 Division I teams with an .098 hitting percentage. Binghamton, meanwhile, sits at No. 263 with a .152 clip.
“[The Saints are] sometimes tough to stop once they get on a roll,” Kiriyama said. “So our charge is to stay consistent and not let things get too far out of hand. We’re excited to play at home. The girls tend to play up a notch at home, so that’s what I’m hoping for.”
Play is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the West Gym.