Coming off two losses last weekend against Bryant and UMBC, respectively, the Binghamton volleyball team bounced back to defeat Manhattan College 3-1 on Thursday night in its final nonconference matchup. After winning a close opening set, the Bearcats dropped the second set. However, BU pulled through in the third and fourth sets to secure the victory.
“It was nice to get the win,” said Binghamton head coach Allie Yaeger. “At the end, we fought a lot tonight to pull off the first set win and to take the lead in the third set and then to pretty much dominate in the fourth set.”
After Manhattan [(9-20, 6-10 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC)] got on the board in the first set, two kills from senior outside hitter Tsvetelina Ilieva gave Binghamton [(14-11, 6-3 America East (AE)] a 2-1 lead. Both teams continued to go back and forth with the score tied at 8-8. Later in the frame, BU strung together two 4-0 runs to take a 17-12 lead, forcing Manhattan to burn its first timeout of the match. Coming out of the timeout, Manhattan was able to regain some momentum, cutting the BU lead to just two as the set came down to the wire. Despite this, the Bearcats retained their lead as an Ilieva kill secured a 25-23 win in the opening set.
“We were able to finish and push toward the end [of the set],” Yaeger said. “It was a close set … our blocking, like it always does, really comes through for us.”
The second set began with the Bearcats and Jaspars exchanging points as the score was tied at 4-4 early on in the set. Then, Manhattan was able to pull away with a 5-0 run that put the home team up 9-4, as BU burned its first timeout of the match. After some back-and-forth play, the Jaspars maintained their lead, taking an 18-11 lead. However, Binghamton anchored a late comeback, courtesy of a kill from Ilieva, which tied the score at 24. In overtime, Manhattan took the next two points to earn a 26-24 victory in set two.
“We just had a little more gas in the tank than what [Manhattan] had,” Yaeger said.
Binghamton jumped out to a 7-4 run in set three but, not long after, Manhattan quickly responded, knotting the score at nine. The back-and-forth nature of the match continued as the set stayed relatively close. Later in the frame, another pair of 4-0 runs propelled BU to a 25-18 victory in set three.
“We were able to serve out the sets once we got to 22 [points],” Yaeger said. “Our servers were really good at the end line by putting pressure on Manhattan.”
The Bearcats kept their momentum heading into set four, grabbing an 8-1 lead over the Jaspers to begin the set. BU continued to command the pace in the final set and never looked back, cruising to a dominant 25-14 win in set four to earn a 3-1 victory over Manhattan.
“I have zero complaints about the fourth set,” Yaeger said. “It’s how I think I should’ve played the other three sets … we controlled the whole fourth set which is what [we] always want to do.”
Ilieva spearheaded the Binghamton offense with 25 kills in the winning effort. In addition, sophomore setter Lottie Scully set up her teammates all game, recording 43 assists. As a team, BU had a hitting percentage of .285 while their defense held Manhattan to a hitting percentage of just .125.
“When we needed a kill, we knew we could go to [Ilieva] tonight,” Yaeger said. “[Scully was setting the ball well]. [Scully] was going to who was putting the ball away, which was [Ilieva].”
Binghamton will wrap up AE conference play against UNH on Sunday, Nov. 12. First serve is set for 1 p.m. at Lundholm Gymnasium in Durham, New Hampshire.
“The wear and tear of the season is upon us right now,” Yaeger said. “I can tell that [the team] is tired mentally, emotionally and physically so we need to do [our] best to rest our bodies here in the next couple days leading into next weekend.”