The Binghamton volleyball team, mired in a four-match skid, will look to get back on its feet tonight when it heads to Rhode Island to clash with Providence. The contest will mark each team’s second America East tilt of the season.
In its first conference matchup last Sunday, the Bearcats (2-12, 0-1 AE) fell in straight sets to give Albany, who had started 0-12, its first win of the season. Bouncing back against the Friars (8-9, 1-0 AE) won’t be an easy task, as second-place Providence is coming off of a dominant, straight-set victory against Hartford.
The Friars bested the Hawks in sets of 25-17, 25-20 and 25-21, with star freshman outside hitter Kayla Fitzgerald finishing with a team-high 11 kills. Junior outside hitter Mackenzie Ziegler leads the Friars overall with 149 kills so far this season, nine of which she logged against Hartford. Junior outside hitter Colleen McCollom, likewise, tallied nine, and finishes off the Friar trifecta with 130 kills on the season.
Led by senior middle hitter Grace Vickers, Binghamton hopes to make a statement to the rest of the league by beating a well-rounded Providence team. Even so, Binghamton head coach Glenn Kiriyama is more concerned with his team’s performance than the Friars’.
“We’re focusing on our side of the court,” Kiriyama said. “We just want to play better than what we have. We know we can have better results if we just play a little better all around.”
Vickers, freshman outside hitter Allison Hovie and sophomore middle hitter Megan Burgess have proved the most lethal hitters on BU’s court, posting kill counts of 131, 123 and 102, respectively. Hovie has most recently emerged as a force to be reckoned with, posting consistently high numbers over the past three weeks.
Kiriyama cited hitting efficiency and serving as two major areas of concern for his team, but also acknowledged the impact that junior setter Amanda Dettmann needs to have in order for Binghamton to leave Alumni Hall with a victory.
“We’re looking for her to have a nice match,” Kiriyama said. “If she can run our offense efficiently, I think we’ll be fairly successful.”
BU has had a lot of difficulty on the road this year, but Kiriyama believes that his players are starting to understand what it takes to win away from home.
“The road has been tough for us … but they’re starting to realize, especially the new girls, that these games are pretty intense,” he said.
Although they may not be the favorite coming into this matchup, Binghamton was able to secure a hard-fought, five-set victory last year at Providence. But the Bearcats will meet an entirely new opponent than they did last season, when the Friars completed their 2012 campaign with a record of 1-30, including a winless conference season.
Binghamton and Providence are scheduled to square off at 6 p.m. Friday at Alumni Hall in Providence, R.I. The Bearcats are set to conclude their weekend at 1 p.m. Sunday at Hartford Volleyball Gym.