The Binghamton volleyball team completed its season over the weekend with two road conference matchups. The Bearcats were unable to come away with a win, losing matches against UAlbany and UNH while only taking one set total.
“We’re working on ball control on our side,” said Binghamton head coach Glenn Kiriyama. “We just got to control the ball a lot better, increase our range of digging. We want to quicken our offense a little bit, get good sets to hitters … There’s a lot of things we want to work on.”
On Friday, the Bearcats (7-17, 3-9 America East [AE]) could not win any sets and were swept by the Great Danes (13-14, 8-4 AE). The first set was a tightly contested battle that saw sophomore outside hitter Stefana Stan record four kills. BU took an early 13-9 lead halfway through the set. For the next several serves, the set saw neither team take a significant lead until the Great Danes went on a 9-2 lead to go up 22-18. UAlbany put the match away after an attack error by Stan, winning 25-23.
“I thought we really hustled a lot,” Kiriyama said. “We made some nice saves and kept the rallies going … It was nice to see the hustle out there, everyone was playing together … They did a nice job of converting and scoring points.”
The second set saw the Bearcats struggle to find ways to score. UAlbany opened on a 13-3 run and did not look back, winning 25-11. BU only surrendered four team errors but struggled to get consistent offense going, recording only four kills. Graduate student middle hitter Elis Gadelha recorded two of the four kills in the set.
“They passed a lot better, but I don’t think we served as tough,” Kiriyama said. “They controlled the ball, they made some nice digs and their hitters did a nice job against our block.”
The third set was a closer contest with back-and-forth action. The Bearcats came out hot, taking an early 7-2 lead, although the lead did not last long as the Great Danes tied it up at 10. The rest of the set was back-and-forth as no team led by more than three points until UAlbany’s final point gave them a 25-21 win to complete the sweep.
“I was glad to see them come back and play just as inspired in the third set as they did in the first set,” Kiriyama said. “The score, it just says how two plays here and there make a big difference.”
Junior middle hitter Anna Sprys made her presence felt on defense, tallying six blocks throughout the three sets of the match. Senior setter Kiara Adams provided support both on offense and defense with 22 assists and eight digs.
“[Sprys] did a nice job at the net and gave us some nice blocks against Albany hitters,” Kiriyama said. “I thought Kiara Adams hustled around the court very well and got to a lot of balls that enabled the hitters to get some good swings.”
The Bearcats followed up their performance with a Saturday match at UNH (16-10, 7-4 AE). BU dropped the first set after the Wildcats went on an 8-2 run after Binghamton tied the set at 17, despite it coming out strong leading 5-1 early.
BU tied the second set at 13 even midway through. The Bearcats then went on a seven-point run thanks in part to senior defensive specialist Emily Rail who recorded three service aces during the march. UNH posted a mild comeback before Binghamton took the set 25-21.
BU dropped their two final sets of the year with 25-20 and 25-17 scores, respectively. In the latter set, the Wildcats closed the door on Binghamton’s season with a 7-0 run.
The Bearcats finish the season with a 7-17 record. Although the team will not be eligible to make the AE playoffs, its record trumps their combined 1-34 win-loss tally of the previous two seasons.
“It was good to see the consistent improvement of the team throughout the season and I thought some of the younger players,” Kiriyama said. “They’ve been able to stay focused and continue to work hard in practice and improve.”