Stony Brook Volleyball suffered its third straight loss at the hands of Binghamton, led by America East Conference points leader Gaby Alicea. The team still made the America East Conference playoff tournament despite Sunday’s loss due to holding the tiebreaker win over UMBC who also finished 6-6.
“Binghamton is a really good offensive team, they are just efficient offensively,” head coach Kristin Belzung said. “I thought in that first set we had their number; dug everything and made a couple of adjustments in terms of trying to use our blocks. And unfortunately we weren’t able to capitalize on that.”
Both teams performed well on the attack to begin the match. Neither team had the advantage in the first set, and both sides traded kills throughout. Eventually, senior middle blocker Cydney Bowman recorded back-to-back kills to give the Seawolves a 19-13 lead. The Seawolves would go on to win the first set 25-17 off of a kill from junior middle blocker McKyla Brooks, who led the Seawolves with 18 kills in the game.
“I felt really, really good,” Brooks said. “Me and [sophomore setter] LeAnne [Sakowicz] were connecting really good sets*this doesn’t really make sense. Our other teammates were doing really well also on the floor so that made me play even better.”
In response to dropping the first set, the Bearcats focused on the attack by finding holes in the Seawolves defensive setting. Up 11-7, a kill from Binghamton sophomore hitter Erin Shultz sparked a 10-1 offensive rally Stony Brook could not respond to. Shultz’s five kills in the run was enough to give the Bearcats set two 25-14 and tie the match.
“I think the one thing that really got us was the long run,” Belzung said. “I think if you take that run away we are right there with them. We’re signing out at a pretty good rate when we are but that one run really got to us and we couldn’t get out of it quick enough.”
The third set was much like the first, with the lead changing five times throughout the set. A kill by Alicea, who led the game with twenty kills, gave the Bearcats a lead they would not give up. Binghamton narrowly won the third set 25-23. The Seawolves were unable to keep any momentum in the fourth set, losing the fourth set 25-21 and the game 3-1.
Before the game, Bowman and defensive specialists Abby Hickey and Melann Amory were honored with a ceremony for their last game as Seawolves. Belzung reflected on the relationships she established with the seniors.
“This group of seniors have been awesome to work with,” Belzung said. “They really set the tone of the culture of this program. I think for them to have this night to honor them was a really good thing. I’m really excited they get to compete again.”
Stony Brook will take on top-ranked Albany in the team’s University Gym on Friday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m..