After winning its first set in a close 25-22 game, the Binghamton volleyball team quickly began to fall apart in its first matchup against Delaware State. Dropping the next three straight sets, the Bearcats lost their first home opener 3-1.
While the energy of the team and the crowd after the thrilling first set put Binghamton (4-8) at an advantage, the following set started a downward trend for the Bearcats. Up 24-20, BU stood one point away from taking a second set. However, the Hornets (12-1) proceeded to put six straight points past the Bearcats and clutch-out the set.
“We were a little up-and-down today, and we started off strong but let [Delaware State] in during that second game,” said Binghamton head coach Glenn Kiriyama. “It’s sort of a learning process for this team, and I hope it will help out in the long run.”
In BU’s third set, they failed to regain momentum and dropped the game to the Hornets. In two separate moments throughout the set, the Hornets went on 5-0 runs. The set finished 25-10 in favor of Delaware State.
Delaware State and Binghamton were in close contention throughout the fourth set. Toward the end of the set, the Bearcats built a 25-24 lead and were in need of one point to tie up the match. Similar to the second set, the Hornets scored three consecutive points and took the victory away from home.
Despite the result of Friday’s match, BU had some bright spots on the court. One of the key athletes in Binghamton’s lineup was senior defensive specialist Emily Rail, who recorded 16 digs and stood at the heart of the Bearcats’ defense for all four sets.
“[Rail] is a spark plug,” Kiriyama said. “She hustles all over the court, makes a lot of plays and communicates well … It’s fun watching her play, and she gets a lot of balls other players can’t get to.”
On the offensive end, junior right side hitter Victoria Erwat and senior setter Kiara Adams kept Binghamton competitive during the loss. Adams recorded 32 assists and Erwat posted 13 kills for the Bearcats.
“[Erwat] did a nice job hitting on both the left and the right side,” Kiriyama said. “She was aggressive throughout the match.”
Binghamton continued to struggle during its two-game weekend series against the Hornets on Sunday afternoon. The Bearcats dropped all three sets 25-14, 25-18 and 25-16. The 3-0 loss to Delaware State marks BU’s final matchup before America East conference play kicks off.
“We’re almost like a different team,” Kiriyama said. “They’ve improved quite a bit compared to that first weekend … They know that this is a tough opponent, and hopefully they’ll be a little more prepared.”
The Bearcats are scheduled to start its conference season against NJIT on Friday, Sept. 24. First serve is set for 6 p.m. at Estelle and Zoom Fleisher Athletic Center in Newark, New Jersey.