“When they’re clicking, it really lifts the energy of the whole team,” said BU head coach Glenn Kiriyama. “It really lifts the energy of the whole team. It’s good to see both of them having that effect on our squad.”
The first set began as a tightly contested event, with both teams going nearly point-for-point until Stony Brook began to pull away following a 12-12 tie. It was here that the Seawolves rallied together to take a decisive lead in the sequence, allowing the Bearcats only five more points before they ended the competition and took the set 25-17.
Eager to take control of the match in the second game, Binghamton came out of the gates swinging, opening on a 22-7 run with senior setter Sarah Ngo providing nine assists during this stretch. Stony Brook came back vigorously, scoring five unanswered points in an attempt to take the lead. This effort, however, was not enough for the Seawolves to make a comeback. A pair of kills by Alicea and one from Shultz was all the Bearcats needed to close out the set, 25-13.
Set three was the closest frame of the match, as both teams exchanged leads a total of seven times. The largest edge throughout the entire frame was three points, held by BU. When the Seawolves tied the set 22-22, Binghamton called a timeout. Following this break, the Bearcats received a quick kill by Alicea via an assist from Ngo, who then produced a service ace for another point. The Seawolves responded with a kill from junior middle blocker McKyla Brooks off of an assist from sophomore setter LeAnne Sakowicz. One more kill from Alicea, which was again orchestrated by Ngo, was all the Bearcats needed to take the sequence 25-23.
The fourth and final set once again featured numerous lead changes and an especially tight score. While Stony Brook began the set with a 7-2 stretch, the Bearcats rallied hard to come back, soon tying the set 15-15. A kill by senior middle hitter Kristella Morina propelled Binghamton with a 16-15 edge. Unfortunately for BU, Morina followed with two attack errors, which allowed the Seawolves to tie the game once again, and then take the advantage, 17-16. The teams continued exchanging points until the set was tied yet again, this time at 20-20. Kills from Alicea, senior middle hitter Lexi LaGoy, junior setter Kaelan Haag, as well as a service ace from Ngo powered the Bearcats to take the set, 25-21, and the match, 3-1.
Binghamton could not have taken the match were it not for Ngo’s 43 assists on the day, many of which were in critical instances.
“She’s a hard worker out there,” Kiriyama said. “She doesn’t give up on the ball, chases every pass down and was able to get some great sets … especially to the outside hitters.”
This win marks the fifth decisive victory in a row for the Bearcats to close out the regular season.
“Really, they just elevated their game a little bit, in all respects, from passing, to setting, to hitting,” Kiriyama said. “Through the season, I think our hitters are finally clicking with our setter a little bit better, executing just a little bit better on offense.”
After clinching the second seed in the America East Tournament, Binghamton will next play third-seeded New Hampshire in the tournament’s semifinal on Nov. 17 at University Gym in Albany, New York. The game is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.