After an electrifying match on Sunday that saw the Seawolves on the verge of a comeback, Pritchard Gym fell silent as Albany snapped Stony Brook’s four-game winning streak and took the match 3-2, with set totals of 25-23, 25-23, 14-25, 25-27 and 15-9.
Stony Brook may have fallen, but a dramatic fourth set was quite possibly the best set the Seawolves have played all season. Both teams struggled to break the lead wide open. Long volleys proved to be a test in conditioning for each team.
Albany tied the game up at 25 after redshirt senior outside hitter Kathy Fletcher’s 24th of her 29 kills on the day gave the Seawolves a one-point lead. The tension thickened in the air as Albany went to serve.
A long, intense volley ensued. Both sides went at it, until the ball hit the top of Pritchard Gym and landed on Stony Brook’s side. Freshman middle blocker Taylor Wilson hit a pass that went awry and nearly landed out. Redshirt senior libero Lo Hathaway was there to save the ball with a backwards, diving hit that went over the net.
The Great Danes responded quickly, but Fletcher was there with a vicious spike to put the Seawolves at set point.
“I get really excited during those plays,” Fletcher said. “Our defense just got crazy touches on it. When we’re playing scrappy like that, as long as we out hustle them and keep putting pressure on them, we can last longer than they can.”
Senior middle blocker Stephanie McFadden sealed the set with a block, giving Stony Brook the set 27-25.
While the fourth game set the Seawolves up for a comeback, their victory in the third set gave them the ammunition to do so. Albany could not handle Stony Brook’s well-oiled machine as the Seawolves took it 25-14. Fletcher got her 250th kill of the season in the third as well.
“We just talked about us taking control and us handling our side,” head coach Coley Pawlikowski said. “That was a big thing, rather than getting frustrated or letting things happen to us, just taking control and flipping points…it was just taking the control back.”
Fletcher certainly did take control of the game. Her 29 kills were a new career high, as she exploded for 9 of them in the second set. But Stony Brook could not capitalize on Fletcher’s clinic, as they dropped the set 23-25.
Much like the second set, Stony Brook dropped the first set 25-23. But rather than relying on a single player, the Seawolves saw their kills spread as five players registered kills. The Great Danes’ four-point run ended the first set as Albany took it 25-23.
The final set was amiss in comparison to the first four. Although the Seawolves were riding a wave of momentum entering the fifth set, they could not get anything going for them as attack errors were abound. Albany got off to an early lead and maintained it as they took the set 15-9 and the match 3-2.