The Binghamton volleyball team played to a weekend split on the road, beating Providence on Friday before falling to Hartford on Sunday. The win over Providence was the Bearcats’ first in conference play.
Despite a 27-25 first-set loss to the Friars (9-10, 2-1 America East), the Bearcats (3-12, 1-2 AE) posted a season-high .255 hitting percentage for the match to sweep the next three sets at 25-21, 25-20, 25-18.
Binghamton head coach Glenn Kiriyama attributed the Bearcats’ first conference win to good ball control and impressive individual performances.
“We handled the ball very well, which gave us a lot of opportunities,” Kiriyama said. “Any time we pass well it really opens up our offense.”
Senior captain and middle hitter Grace Vickers held a match-high 17 kills at a .640 hitting clip.
Kiriyama credited Vickers with helping the team’s passing and serving take shape.
“Grace has been a pretty dominant hitter in conference, and the matchups she faced against Providence helped her,” Kiriyama said.
Junior hitter Kristin Hovie contributed 15 kills of her own, and junior setter Amanda Dettmann distributed a game-best 48 assists.
The Bearcats maintained a steady advantage throughout the entirety of the second set, allowing them to even up the match. During the third set, a match-high hitting percentage of .314 and crucial kills by freshman outside hitter Kelly Leach and sophomore middle hitter Megan Burgess allowed BU to come out on top.
In the fourth set, the Bearcats managed their largest lead of the match, 22-13, sparked by three kills from Vickers. Freshman outside hitter Allison Hovie ended the match with a kill and service ace.
Defensively, Binghamton totaled nine blocks to Providence’s seven. Senior libero Xiomara Ortiz posted a match-high 20 digs, while Dettmann contributed 12 and Leach pitched in 10.
Against Hartford on Sunday afternoon, the Bearcats dropped to an all-time record of 19-4 against the Hawks (7-12, 1-2 AE) after falling in straight sets of 25-23, 25-15, 25-12.
The opening set included 10 ties and six lead changes before Hartford escaped with a 25-23 win.
A 4-0 run in the second set gave Hartford a 12-8 lead, and the Bearcats could not get any closer than a three-point deficit for the remainder, losing the set 25-15.
Hartford continued to cruise in the third set, hitting at an impressive .400 clip while Binghamton hit a match-low .061 to drop the final set, 25-12.
“We saw some improvement in certain individuals, but as a team, it was a little disappointing we didn’t play as well against Hartford,” Kiriyama said. “After this weekend, we saw the things that we need to work on. We definitely want to improve our blocking and continue to improve our offense.”
Hartford outhit Binghamton with its season-best .352 mark, totaling 51 kills to Binghamton’s .148 and only 29 kills.
Offensively, Allison Hovie led Binghamton with a team-high 11 kills, and Ortiz led the defense again with 19 digs.
Kiriyama praised Hovie’s consistency in her performances and is pleased that she has developed into a leader on the outside as a freshman.
The Bearcats are off from game action until this weekend when they’re set to host Stony Brook on Friday and UMBC on Saturday.