Senior outside hitter Kathy Fletcher played a strong game for the Seawolves and a trio of underclassmen impressed in extended playing time, but it was not enough as Stony Brook dropped its season opener in four sets to the Villanova Wildcats on Friday evening.
Stony Brook lost 25-23, 25-22, 18-25, 25-13 in the first game of a weekend tournament at Penn State University. Fletcher had a team-high of 14 kills, a category in which the Illinois native led the team last season. Fletcher also had a match-high siv blocks. Freshman middle blocker Taylor Wilson added eight kills, while sophomore outside hitter Melann Amory had seven.
Freshman setter Morgan Kath was the primary person for the job in the match, accumulating 33 assists. Senior Nicole Vogel, who was second-team all-conference last year as a setter, played primarily as a libero against Villanova, registering 15 digs to lead the team.
The Wildcats were led by sophomore outside hitter Allie Loitz, who had a double-double, tallying 17 kills and 12 digs. Senior outside hitter Lauren Carpenter added 12 kills for the Seawolves’ Big East foes.
The first two sets were tightly contested, with Villanova coming out on top in each of them. In the first set, the Wildcats had a 23-17 lead. Stony Brook cut the margin down to one at 24-23, but Villanova ultimately prevailed.
Set two was the best set aesthetically, with the teams combining for just seven errors. Villanova had just a sole error of its own, sporting an attacking percentage of .424 in the set as a team.
Stony Brook recuperated in the third set, taking advantage of early service woes from Villanova to take a 19-12 lead. The Wildcats had four errors with the serve in the set, enabling the Seawolves to win the set.
Stony Brook was unable to use the momentum to have a successful fourth set. However, as Villanova dominated to secure the victory and start the Seawolves’ season on a sour note. Stony Brook had more errors than kills in the deciding set.
With the season just underway, the attribution of playing time is always up for grabs in the first couple of games. Freshmen Kath, Wilson and outside hitter McKyla Brooks played most of the game in their debuts, while sophomores Amory and middle blocker Cydney Bowman played much more time than they did last season.
The Seawolves will also square off against the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Buffalo Bulls in a Saturday double-header.