After a rocky start to the season, the Binghamton volleyball team has won three of its last four matches. On Wednesday night, the Bearcats (4-6) defeated Siena, 3-1.
Despite Siena’s unimpressive 1-9 record, the Bearcats did not take their opponent lightly.
Sophomore outside hitter Gaby Alicea started the match off with a point and a kill, and Binghamton quickly jumped to a 4-1 lead. The Saints fought back, but the Bearcats managed to close the first set out, 25-22.
In the second set, Siena took an early 8-3 lead. Binghamton responded with a 14-3 run of its own to regain the advantage. The Bearcats showed no signs of slowing down, extending their run to clinch the second set, 25-16. Binghamton faltered in the third, with a slew of nine errors, to drop the set, 25-17.
The fourth set went more according to plan for the Bearcats. BU held a close edge, 16-15, before going on a 9-1 run to take the set, 25-16, and clinch the match.
“We’re just playing better together,” said BU head coach Glenn Kiriyama. “We’re blocking a little bit better, hitting a little bit better … which means we’re also passing a little bit better.”
Junior setter Sarah Ngo tallied 38 assists against the Saints. Last year, she had a breakout season, finishing second in the the America East (AE) in assists with 999. Ngo earned AE Championship Team and All-Conference Second Team honors. With senior libero Bailey Walker out due to injury, Ngo was a rock for the team last season and is still one of its most important players.
Kiriyama explained that having returners like Ngo on the team makes him more confident coming into difficult conference play.
“Last year we started some young players, and now they’ve got a year under their belts,” Kiriyama said. “It’s good to know that they sort of know what’s going on, especially with conference.”
Alicea was also a key player in Binghamton’s victory against Siena, recording 16 points with 12 kills and 3 blocks. She was named to the AE All-Conference Second and AE All-Rookie teams.
“She’s always striving to do a little bit better,” Kiriyama said. “We think she’ll be a mainstay for us in the next couple of years here.”
Last season, Alicea was the leading scorer on the team with 46 blocks. Despite her underclassman status, Alicea has the ability to be a leader and help her team perform at a high level during the conference season.
The Bearcats are set to face Brown on Friday, Sept. 16, in the first of three games to be played at the Brown Invitational. First serve is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Pizzitola Sports Center in Providence, Rhode Island.