Many coaches say no lead is safe. On Tuesday night, the Binghamton volleyball team proved that sports platitude true, falling to Cornell in five sets at the West Gym after opening with a 2-0 advantage.
With neither the Bearcats (4-15, 2-3 America East) nor Cornell (6-9, 2-3 Ivy League) able to establish a clear advantage early on, the first set saw 14 ties and 10 lead changes. But Binghamton used a pair of kills from junior outside hitter Kristin Hovie out of a timeout to spark a 6-0 run to take the set, 25-21.
The second set also saw a close game, with the score tied at 18. Again, the Bearcats got hot and jumped to a 2-0 lead with a 25-19 win.
Despite taking the first two sets, the Bearcats only hit .220 to Cornell’s .278 in the first set and .111 to .136 in the second. Overall, Binghamton held a .115 hitting percentage while Cornell held .273.
BU head coach Glenn Kiriyama did not attribute the Bearcats’ lead to impressive gameplay.
“We didn’t play very well the first two games, even though we won them,” Kiriyama said. “They outhit us, and they outplayed us really. We knew that going into game three, and we knew it was going to be a tough match.”
Cornell pulled ahead in the third set, holding a steady lead throughout the frame. Twelve Big Red kills coupled with eight BU hitting errors caused the set to end in Cornell’s favor, 25-13.
The fourth followed similarly, with Cornell improving to a .303 clip and holding Binghamton to .158. The set featured 10 ties and six lead changes, as Cornell ultimately pulled away for a 25-19 win.
Though the Big Red jumped ahead with a 3-0 lead in the fifth, a kill by senior middle hitter and captain Grace Vickers kept Binghamton in the set until service errors sparked a 5-2 Cornell. The Bearcats weren’t able to overcome the deficit a second time, and Cornell closed the match, 15-9.
“Unfortunately we weren’t able to pick it up. In fact we might have done a bit worse,” Kiriyama said. “We really didn’t execute the fundamentals very well, especially down the stretch there. We were weak on overall fundamentals tonight whether it was blocking, serve-receive or even communication. We have a lot to work on.”
Individually, the night was a bit more successful for the Bearcats. Vickers posted a career-high 18 kills to lead the Bearcats. Freshman outside hitter Allison Hovie and Kristin Hovie contributed 10 and nine kills, respectively, and junior setter Amanda Dettmann garnered her seventh double-double of the season with 36 assists and 19 digs. Senior libero Xiomara Ortiz matched Dettmann’s 19 digs.
The match marked the ninth time the schools have met since BU joined Division I. Cornell holds a 5-4 advantage in the series.
Binghamton is scheduled to host another pair of America East matchups this weekend, the first against first-place New Hampshire (10-11, 4-1 AE) tonight and the second against UMass Lowell on Sunday.
First serve against New Hampshire is set for 7 p.m. at the West Gym.