Coming in hot after a pair of wins at home, the Binghamton volleyball team was left disappointed this weekend. BU took on UMBC and the University of Hartford in a series of two matches on the road, dropping the games by scores of 3-1 and 3-2, respectively.
“Both matches were similar in that we didn’t handle the ball well on our side,” said BU head coach Glenn Kiriyama. “We didn’t pass the ball well … and didn’t really dig that well either. Just those two areas. If we do those two areas well, maybe we have a real good chance of winning.”
Friday’s match versus UMBC began with a close first set. Both teams stayed within just a few points of one another until the score was 21-20. It was at that moment that the Bearcats began to pull away, ultimately winning the set, 25-21, following several key assists from senior setter Sarah Ngo.
The second frame was initially a close one as well, but halfway through, the Retrievers rallied both offensively and defensively and took the set 25-18. The third sequence featured both teams giving their all, as the players offered an intensive effort to take an advantage. Points were continuously exchanged, prompting a 23-23 tie. It was at this point that UMBC junior setter Krytsia Negron provided her team with two key assists to take the set, 25-23. The fourth set saw the Bearcats fighting hard to stay in the match, and it ultimately ended in another 25-23 loss as UMBC took the frame and the match.
Sunday’s match against the Hawks began with what was initially a neck-and-neck first set. Both teams traded points right out of the gate, going nearly point-for-point to a 12-12 tie coming off a kill from Hartford freshman outside hitter Abby Nash. Following this, the Bearcats pulled ahead and took the set 25-21 off a service error.
After Hartford won the second set, 25-20, and tied the match, the Bearcats dominated the third frame. Binghamton took an early lead and never looked back, taking the game, 25-13. Ready to retake control of the match, Hartford began the fourth sequence with an early 4-0 run. The Bearcats did the best that they could to ride its momentum, but ultimately lost the set, 25-15.
The fifth and final set was highly contested, with neither team allowing the other to pull ahead. The frame was tied at 8-8, 10-10 and 11-11. Two quick kills from Nash preceding two attack errors from the Bearcats gave the Hawks a 14-11 lead. While Binghamton did manage to score one more point on a kill from junior setter Kaelan Haag, Hartford ended up taking the set and the match, 3-2.
“We made some unfortunate errors down the stretch there,” Kiriyama said. “Hitting, passing and digging. You know, we just have to play a lot better down the stretch. There’s no quick fix, we just got to be able to convert, but execute a little bit better.”
One bright spot from the Bearcats this weekend was the performance of Ngo, who posted hitting percentages of .500 against UMBC and .600 against Hartford.
“[Ngo’s] been pretty consistent,” Kiriyama said. “She’s the quarterback of the team, calling the plays … she did a nice job on defense too. She was able to run down most of the balls that were hit her way.”
With the next two matches at home, there is reason for Binghamton to be optimistic, as the team is currently undefeated at home with three wins.
The Bearcats are slotted to face Stony Brook University this Friday. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. from the West Gym in Vestal, New York.
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