For the third consecutive year, the Stony Brook Women’s Volleyball team saw its season end with a loss in the America East semifinals. On Friday afternoon, the Seawolves fell in straight sets to the Albany Great Danes, 25-18, 25-19, 25-15.
Whereas the two regular season meetings between the rivals were closely-contested, five-set thrillers, this match was anything but. The Great Danes’ front line dominated in the blocking game, and the Seawolves were unable to play efficient offense. Stony Brook committed 23 errors on a disappointing .059 attack percentage, which accounts for the difference in kills and errors divided by total attacks.
Junior middle blocker Amanda Dolan had five blocks for Albany, centering a defensive front that seemed to be telegraphing the Stony Brook attack throughout the match. As a team, the Great Danes accumulated 10 blocks, while altering several balls that set up easy spikes of their own.
Senior outside hitter Kathy Fletcher struggled to produce for the Seawolves verus an opponent she averaged 24.5 kills against during the regular season. On Friday, the recently-named first-team All-America East player was held to a season-low six kills.
After an opening frame in which Stony Brook never led, it seemed as if head coach Coley Pawlikowski’s team would right the ship early on in the second set.
The Seawolves used a 9-2 run early in the set to take a 12-6 lead after senior middle blocker Stephanie McFadden delivered a service ace, one of three for her in the match.
Albany would respond, however, as the Great Danes went on a 10-1 run of their own as senior middle blocker Tatum Jungsten hit four aces in five points to fuel the rally.
After Fletcher trimmed Albany’s lead to 19-17 with a kill, Albany won five straight points to take a 24-17 advantage and run away with the set, finishing it with a kill by freshman outside hitter Lyndsey Weiler.
The final set was similar to the first, as Albany dominated play and Stony Brook’s attack percentage was held to under .100 for the third consecutive set.
Freshman outside hitter Taylor Wilson was a bright spot for the Seawolves, as she had a team-high eight kills with just four errors. Wilson also produced for Stony Brook from the back-line, where she had a match-high 13 digs.
Freshman Morgan Kath was used as the Seawolves’ primary setter in the match where she had 25 assists, as senior Nicole Vogel was the libero.
The promising Stony Brook freshman class—Kath, Wilson and all-rookie nominee McKyla Brooks—will look to use the loss as experience to improve on this season’s performance in the future, as the Seawolves’ quest for an America East championship in volleyball continues on for another year.
Featured image credit: America East Conference