The Binghamton volleyball team hosted conference rivals Stony Brook and UMBC on Friday and Saturday, respectively, taking a loss and a win away from Homecoming Weekend. Each match lasted five sets, with BU falling to Stony Brook, 3-2, and defeating UMBC, 3-2.
With its win, Binghamton (4-14, 2-3 America East) stands just a game out of the final playoff spot.
“[The win] was huge for us. We definitely needed this to stay in the [America East] race,” BU head coach Glenn Kiriyama said. “It means we can compete with the top teams in the conference. It gives our team a lot of confidence.”
Binghamton led its match with UMBC (12-8, 3-2 AE), 2-0, before surrendering the third and fourth sets by an average margin of nine points and capturing the final frame, 15-11.
The Retrievers were plagued by errors early on, especially in the first set. The score was tied at nine in the opening frame, but UMBC committed eight kill errors, allowing the Bearcats to pull away for a 25-20 win.
Binghamton jumped out to an 18-11 lead in the second set before a 5-1 run by the Retrievers cut the gap to three. A service error by BU brought the score to 20-19 before back-to-back kills by freshman hitter Allison Hovie gave the Bearcats some breathing room. Binghamton went on to capture the second set, 25-20.
UMBC opened the third game on a 5-0 run and coasted to a 25-14 victory. The Retrievers’ momentum carried over into the fourth set, which ended with UMBC atop 25-18.
But, Binghamton quickly regained momentum in the fifth set.
“We wanted to go out there and score the first point of the set, and that is what we did,” Kiriyama said.
Sophomore hitter Megan Burgess and senior hitter and captain Grace Vickers opened the fifth set with back-to-back kills. With the score tied at four, Hovie took control of the set. She contributed four of her career-high 19 kills in the fifth game, propelling the Bearcats to their decisive 15-11 victory.
Hovie attributed her success to an incredible team effort.
“It’s such a team sport, you can’t do it without a pass and a set,” Hovie said. “You know your whole team is behind you wanting to get that kill down.”
On Friday, Stony Brook (9-12, 3-2 AE) battled back from a 2-1 deficit to defeat Binghamton after capturing a tight fourth set, 25-22, and gliding to their 15-6 victory in the fifth.
The score was tied at eight early in the first set. However, after back-to-back service errors by the Bearcats, the Seawolves pulled away for a 25-16 win.
In the second set, Binghamton jumped out to an early 15-9 lead. Stony Brook battled back, tying the score at 16, 18 and 20, but the Bearcats regained the momentum and won the set, 25-23.
“I thought everyone picked it up a bit more,” Kiriyama said. “Our passing and hitting both really picked up.”
The teams battled to a 14-14 tie in the third set before BU, led by Vickers, went on an 11-5 run to capture the set, 25-19. Stony Brook took the remaining two sets to secure the decision.
“Whenever we play Stony Brook it’s always a battle, but I think all of the girls came out and played really hard, we just had a few more errors than they did,” Vickers said. “I think that if we clean those up we will have a good chance against them next time.”
The Bearcats are scheduled for a non-conference match against Cornell tonight. First serve is set for 7 p.m. at the West Gym.