The Binghamton volleyball team traveled to Colgate on Wednesday night for a one game hiatus from America East (AE) conference play. Despite winning the first set of the match, the Bearcats dropped three sets in a row to pick up the team’s sixth loss of the season.
“It was a very up and down match,” said Binghamton head coach Allie Yaeger. “We made a lot of errors. It wasn’t one of our best hitting matches. We take a lot of pride in our hitting efficiency and we struggled.”
BU (11-6, 2-1 AE) and the Raiders (15-4, 7-1 Patriot League) went back and forth to start set one. The Bearcats were able to get out to a healthy lead in the middle of the set due to a 4-0 run that gave them a 16-11 advantage. Colgate, however, made an attempt to comeback as it evened the score up at 19, but two kills from senior middle hitter Anna Sprys allowed Binghamton to close it out 25-22.
“It’s a high priority for us to get [Sprys] the ball as much as possible,” Yaeger said. “I heard so much about how good [Sprys] is when it comes to blocking. She’s such a good defensive middle, but why can’t she be an offensive middle too? We’ve really been working on her connection and her on-court connection with [freshman setter Lottie Scully].”
Set two saw the Bearcats falter offensively, as their hitting percentage for the set dropped to 10 percent. On top of that, BU tallied six attack errors that ultimately led to the 25-20 defeat.
The penultimate third set proved to be the most tightly contested. The Raiders built an early lead, going up 8-4, but Binghamton refused to give up as it rallied a 6-0 run to take a 12-9 lead. The remainder of the set teetered both ways as each team went on small scoring runs until the final few points. Although the Bearcats found one more attack attempt than Colgate in the set, they were unable to earn the win, falling 25-23.
“We made a lot more errors than [Colgate],” Yaeger said. “We got stuck in a spot where we just couldn’t get out. Our defense kind of fell apart too, and Colgate’s a great defensive team. They dug everything we were putting over the net … I felt they were a better defensive team than we are.”
BU got out to a slow start in set four as it found itself down 8-1 early on. Binghamton made attempts to comeback with short scoring runs throughout the set, but were unable to string anything consistent enough to complete a comeback. The Bearcats trailed the entire set as Colgate closed out the match with a 25-18 win.
“We wanted to get tested,” Yaeger said. “In the first set we played really well, and then we just couldn’t match Colgate’s energy after that.”
Defensively, BU tallied 15 blocks and 65 digs compared to the Raiders’ 10 blocks and 64 digs. However, on offense the Bearcats had only 43 kills to Colgate’s 55. Additionally, the visitor’s attack was inconsistent during each set as they ended the game with a 12.2 percent hitting percentage.
Junior outside hitter Tsvetelina Ilieva led the team with 14 kills with Sprys close behind at 11. Sprys contributed to the defensive effort with eight blocks assists while freshman outside hitter Giulia Bonifacio tallied 21 digs. Scully supported the Bearcat offense tallying 38 assists for the match.
“We wanted to work on [Sprys and Scully] connecting,” Yaeger said. “Now that they have the trust within each other and they know they can put on a performance like that against a good team, I think that’s really gonna help us.”
Binghamton will return home for an AE matchup to face Bryant on Friday, Oct. 14. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the West Gym in Vestal, New York.