In its final home match of the regular season, the Binghamton volleyball team earned a sweeping win over NJIT in three sets. After a closely fought first set that ended 25-23, the Bearcats were able to build momentum and dominate the second and third sets 25-12 and 25-16, respectively.
“Most of the time, whoever wins that first set ends up winning the match,” said Binghamton head coach Glenn Kiriyama. “So it was really important for us.”
The Highlanders (2-22, 0-10 America East [AE]) staged a late comeback near the end of the first set, closing their deficit to just one point after the Bearcats (7-14, 3-6 AE) did not trail at any point in the set. This revival was brought to a halt, though, as Binghamton was able to close out the set due to a crucial kill by junior middle hitter Anna Sprys. Sprys continued to be a major contributor to the Bearcats’ success after this point. She posted a total of 11 kills and had seven of the team’s nine total blocks in the win. The junior is first on the team in total blocks with 71 and second in kills with 141.
“[Sprys] does a nice job, she really dominates up there in the middle,” Kiriyama said. “She took care of [NJIT’s] middle which is really a big part of their team.”
The second set was not as close, as BU went on a 13-1 run to close the set out 25-12. The Highlanders made the set competitive early, leading 10-8 before a service error and pair of kills by junior right side hitter Victoria Erwat and Sprys gave the Bearcats a lead they never relinquished.
The final set was a similar story, as Binghamton led by one early on, at 9-8, but then outscored NJIT 16-8 to win 25-16. Erwat scored two of the final four points before an attack error gave BU the sweep.
Kiriyama said the Bearcats’ sweep can be credited as a team win. Sophomore outside hitter Stefana Stan posted 12 kills while Erwat added 10 kills. This, paired with the 31 assists from senior setter Kiara Adams, allowed BU to take offensive control of the matchup.
“It was a nice team effort, a lot of people contributed to the success we had today,” Kiriyama said. “A lot fewer errors than our last match, which is a big thing we’re trying to cut down on.”
This was BU’s second victory over the Highlanders of the season, after beating them in a five-set nail-biter on September 24. Kiriyama said the team showed up better prepared for round two.
“That first time we played them was a tough match, it went five sets,” Kiriyama said. “We knew that they were gonna be tough and we didn’t know exactly what they were gonna bring.”
This victory also came on an important day for the team as it was its last home match of the season and last ever for the four seniors on the team. Adams, senior defensive specialist Emily Rail, senior middle blocker Tyra Wilson and graduate student middle hitter Elis Gadelha were all honored pregame.
“It’s really great to see the seniors in their final match here go out with a win,” Kiriyama said. “All four have played a vital role in their four years here. They’ve played a lot of sets for us and they’ve pretty much built our program to what it is now. We owe a lot to them.”
Binghamton is slated for another conference game and is set to face the University of Hartford Hawks. The Bearcats’ last matchup against the Hawks was earlier this year and ended in a 3-1 loss.
The Hartford matchup is scheduled for Friday, November 5. First serve is set for 7 p.m. at the Hartford Volleyball Gym in West Hartford, Connecticut.