Entering its final match of the season with an 0-11 record, the Binghamton volleyball team was on the brink of its second-consecutive winless season. The Bearcats were swept by Stony Brook in the first half of the teams’ doubleheader on Sunday and entered the nightcap having not won since Nov. 4, 2018.
In that final matchup of the 2021 season, the Bearcats broke through and swept the Seawolves. After strong performances in all three sets, Binghamton snapped its 36-match losing streak with an upset win.
Freshman outside hitter Stefana Stan led the way for Binghamton (1-11, 1-11 America East) with 15 kills and 13 digs. She was later named AE Rookie of the Week as she wrapped up a strong first season.
“[Stan] steadily improved over the course of the season and was our best offensive threat down the stretch,” said Binghamton head coach Glenn Kiriyama, per bubearcats.com. “She had some timely hits for us in our win on Sunday.”
Senior outside hitter Francela Ulate also had 15 kills, and junior setter Kiara Adams recorded 36 assists in the win. The first two sets were tight, with Binghamton winning 25-23 in the first and 26-24 in the second. Binghamton led for the majority of the third before closing out on a 7-2 run to win 25-19 and earn a sweep.
“The team has been able to shake off all the distractions throughout the season,” Kiriyama said. “They have steadily improved and gave an outstanding performance this afternoon. [Adams] did a nice job setting and feeding our outsides, [Stan] and [Ulate].”
With the regular season now concluded, the AE announced its annual awards and all-conference teams on Wednesday. Ulate was named second-team all-conference, Stan was selected to the all-rookie team, and junior middle blocker Tyra Wilson was picked to the all-academic team.
Under this year’s revised championship format, only the top two teams in the AE qualified for the postseason. Albany and UMBC will face off on Sunday with an NCAA tournament bid on the line.
With Binghamton’s season now concluded, the Bearcats hope to return to playing a traditional schedule next fall.