This weekend, the Binghamton volleyball team participated in the Georgetown Invitational in the nation’s capital. In all three matches, the Bearcats were unable to earn a victory. The team did, however, win three sets, quadrupling their previous season total of one.
“We were more competitive this weekend than we were any other weekend on quite a few sets,” said Binghamton head coach Glenn Kiriyama. “It’s always nice to see. We hit a better percentage, we have a lot of positives. We out-blocked most of the teams we played. But we just weren’t able to execute in a couple of sets down the stretch there. Overall, we still needed a lot of work, but we’re getting closer.”
On Friday morning, the Bearcats faced off against Florida International. Against the Panthers (7-4), BU got off to a slow start. Right out of the gate, FIU scored four straight before Binghamton was able to score a point of its own, a kill by junior outside hitter Francela Ulate. The Bearcats’ offense was shut down during the opening set, which ended 14-25 in FIU’s favor.
BU competed better in the second set of the match. The teams traded points for the beginning of the set, with neither one seeming able to pull ahead. With the score tied at 14, the Panthers gained a head of steam, scoring 11 to Binghamton’s seven to take the set by four points.
In set three, the score remained close until the very end. With the score 21-22, FIU was able to net three straight to secure the set and the match. Both Ulate and freshman outside hitter Audrey Haworth registered double-digit kills during the match against FIU.
“[Ulate] had a really nice match … through the weekend, just getting a lot of kills,” Kiriyama said. “Both her and Audrey, they’re gonna get a lot of sets — that’s just the nature of their position. They’ve been able to execute fairly well with what they’re given … they’ve been able to keep their composure and play fairly well throughout the tournament this weekend.”
In the nightcap, the Bearcats took on tournament host Georgetown. The Hoyas (10-4) got off to a strong start, making quick work of the Bearcat defense during the opening frame. During this set, BU was able to score just eight.
The Bearcats came back strong in the following frame, fighting hard to stay in it until the very end. With the score tied at 24, senior outside hitter Victoria Keghlian registered a kill to give BU the lead. This was quickly met with a point from Georgetown. Following this, Keghlian registered another kill to once again give her team a one-point edge before an attack error gave Binghamton the two-point lead it needed to take the set. While the Hoyas challenged the call, the referees determined that it would stand, and BU earned a victory in the set.
The third frame was also tightly contested. It began with an early Bearcat lead, as the team began the set on a 7-1 run, but an offensive flurry from Georgetown kept the score close. Eventually, the score was tied at 17. In the end, two kills from senior outside hitter Iva Vujosevic gave the Hoyas a 25-23 victory in the set. The fourth and final set saw Georgetown earn a victory in the match. The Bearcats got off to a shaky start on the wrong side of a 10-3 run, and were ultimately defeated 25-11.
The final game of the weekend for BU was against Morgan State. The match was contested from beginning to end. In the opening set, the teams traded points throughout before BU won it by just two points. Set two was much the same, though this time the Bears claimed the set with 28 to Binghamton’s 26.
Set three saw Morgan State dominate, winning by 11 points. BU took the fourth set by a small margin, and the match moved on to a winner-takes-all fifth set. The Bears got off to a roaring start by going on a 9-2 run and rolled to a 15-8 victory in the game and a 3-2 win in the match. Sophomore setter Kiara Adams registered 41 assists and 10 digs, while senior defensive specialist Kim Lavender led the team in digs with 25.
“It’s been tough for [the team],” Kiriyama said. “We’re obviously very disappointed … We are trying to look forward, and we’ve gotta keep looking forward. We can’t dwell on the past … We’re trying to get through the next match, and then try and do better in that next match, and then obviously get a W coming up here sometime.”
The Bearcats will finish their nonconference season against Siena on Wednesday, Sept. 25 in the team’s first home match of the season. First serve is set for 7 p.m. from the West Gym in Vestal, New York.