Coming off a loss against Bryant on Friday, the Binghamton volleyball team lost its second straight matchup, 3-1, on senior day, to UMBC on Sunday afternoon. After starting off strong to win the first set, the Bearcats were defeated in the next three sets as they dropped their second game of the weekend.
“We came out really strong,” said Binghamton head coach Allie Yaeger. “That’s something that we talked about for a while, that’s something that we didn’t do against Bryant … we [just] couldn’t keep up with it.”
After the Bearcats (13-11, 6-3 AE) won the first two points of the set, the Retrievers (13-7, 6-2 AE) followed things up with a 3-0 run of its own to take a 3-2 lead. The set continued to go back and forth as both teams managed to block each other several times at the net. Later on the frame, Binghamton began to pull away, stringing together a 3-0 run to make it 14-9. BU continued to stay in control as kills from senior outside hitter Tsvetelina Ilieva and freshman middle blocker Misa Dlouha gave the Bearcats an 19-11 lead. Binghamton kept the momentum for the rest of the set to earn a decisive 25-17 victory in set one.
“I thought we served well, [and] I thought we blocked really well,” Yaeger said.
Going into set two, UMBC jumped out to an early 5-1 lead. Despite this, the Bearcats were able to cut into the Retriever lead and stayed within striking distance with timely kills and blocks, eventually knotting the score at 10-10. After the Retrievers relinquished their lead for a brief moment, they came right back with a 4-0 run to make it 14-10. However, BU began to tighten up its defense, coming up with several blocks to tie the set at 16-16. UMBC kept just enough momentum to pull out a 25-22 win in set two to even the match at one set apiece.
“We’ve got to continue to get better,” Yaeger said. “You see little things here and there that we need to work on. Right when you think we’re getting going on something then we kind of have an off day on it.”
Once again, in set three, UMBC gained a quick 4-0 advantage before a kill by graduate student right-side hitter Lydia Adam and an ace by sophomore libero Madison Konopka spearheaded a 4-0 Bearcat run to even the score. The momentum shifted back and forth as brief runs from both teams tied the score at 10. Later in the frame, two consecutive kills from Schabort gave BU a 17-14 advantage. The final points of the set were highly contested with each team striving for the win. Neither team took their foot off the gas, as UMBC managed to tie things up at 24, forcing overtime. In overtime, UMBC went on to squeeze out the set 29-27.
“We struggled on defense and just kind of responding to [UMBC],” Yaeger said.
Both teams exchanged points in the opening moments of the fourth set. UMBC eventually gained a 10-5 advantage to force a BU timeout. After going down early, the Bearcats were unable to recover as the Retrievers controlled the rest of the final set, ultimately winning the set 25-16 and the match overall.
“We’ve got to continue to stay disciplined and focused,” Yaeger said. “At times, I felt like we lost a little bit of focus, but it was a good match.”
After the conclusion of the match, a senior day ceremony, which included a tribute video, was held for Adam, graduate student middle blocker Anna Sprys, senior outside hitter Stefana Stan and senior middle blocker Stephanie Gatto.
Yaeger discussed what the seniors meant to her and the enormous impact they have all had on the team throughout the season.
“All you have to do is watch the video and you can see how much impact in so many different ways that they’ve had on this program,” Yaeger said. “Their friendships that they’ve built along the way, that’s always one of the most important things. You can perform on the court, but you create your relationships and your friendships off the court. They’re going to be missed so much.”
The Bearcats will take on Manhattan College in a midweek nonconference matchup on Wednesday, Nov. 8 before its final game of AE play. The first serve is set for 6 p.m. at Draddy Gymnasium in Riverdale, New York.