After surrendering a 2-0 lead, the Binghamton volleyball team rallied for a five-set victory over UMBC Saturday afternoon at the West Gym. The Bearcats (4-14, 2-3 America East), who dropped sets three and four by an average margin of nine points, captured the final frame, 15-11.
With the win, Binghamton stands just a half-game out of the final playoff spot.
“It was huge for us. We definitely needed this to stay in the [America East] race,” BU head coach Glenn Kiriyama said. “I am excited about the win. It means we can compete with the top teams in the conference. It gives our team a lot of confidence.”
The Retrievers (12-8, 3-2 AE) were plagued by errors early, especially in the first set. The score was tied at nine in the opening frame, but UMBC committed eight kill errors, allowing the Bearcats to pull away for a 25-20 win.
Binghamton jumped out to an 18-11 lead in the second set before a 5-1 run by the Retrievers cut the gap to three. A service error by BU freshman hitter Kelly Leach brought the score to 20-19 before back-to-back kills by freshman hitter Allison Hovie gave the Bearcats some breathing room. Binghamton would go on to capture the second set, 25-20.
UMBC opened the third game on a 5-0 run and coasted to a 25-14 victory. The Retrievers’ momentum carried over into the fourth set, which ended with UMBC atop 25-18.
Kiriyama said he was nervous going into the deciding set.
“I am always worried,” he said. “We wanted to go out there and score the first point of the set, and that is what we did.”
Sophomore hitter Megan Burgess and senior hitter and captain Grace Vickers opened up the fifth set with back-to-back kills to swing the momentum in the Bearcats’ favor. With the score tied at four, Hovie took control of the set. She contributed four of her career-high 19 kills in the fifth game, propelling the Bearcats to their decisive 15-11 victory.
Hovie attributed her success to an incredible team effort.
“It’s such a team sport, you can’t do it without a pass and a set,” she said. “You know your whole team is behind you wanting to get that kill down.”
The Bearcats are next scheduled for a non-conference matchup Tuesday at home against Cornell. First serve is set for 7 p.m. at the West Gym.