Stony Brook Volleyball suffered a tough loss in five sets against New Hampshire on Sunday in Pritchard Gymnasium. The loss was the team’s first at home since Sept. 5, when Stony Brook fell to Hofstra, also in five sets.
“Honestly, we weren’t in a good rhythm offensively tonight,” head coach Kristin Belzung said. “For as much as I said that was our emphasis going into the week on Friday, I didn’t see us execute our sideout game as good as we did on Friday night and unfortunately it put us in a jam.”
The Seawolves failed to carry over the momentum from Friday’s win over UMass Lowell. The Wildcats went on a 9-4 run to start the game, forcing the Seawolves to call an early timeout. Stony Brook cut the deficit down to three, but the Wildcats pulled away again with strong kills and a couple of aces. Belzung talked strategy with the team during a quick break in the set.
“We decided to execute the gameplan to be honest with you,” Belzung said. “The way New Hampshire was scoring against us was exactly the way we said we weren’t going to let them score. I thought we made those changes.”
The adjustments paid off quickly, as the Seawolves managed to erase another deficit and take a 15-14 lead, their first lead of the game, in the middle of the second set. Both teams traded leads throughout the set before senior middle blocker Cydney Bowman and sophomore setter Leanne Sakowicz batted down a shot from the Wildcats to tie the game at 1-1.
Stony Brook continued to maintain control of the game, winning a close third set 25-21 to put the team up 2-1. The momentum switched yet again in the fourth set as the Wildcats went on two 7-1 runs. Led by sophomore side hitter Hannah Petke, who recorded 24 kills in the game, the team rallied back to take the set 25-20.
“We really struggled to stop [Petke] today,” Belzung said. “There wasn’t a whole lot we could do today in our block lineup standpoint. Once we were able to figure it out, we were unable to dig her. Give her a ton of credit, she can see and she was attacking at us. If we were able to manage her differently I think it would have been a different match. For some reason she just had our number tonight.”
Tied at 2-2, the Wildcats went on a 6-2 run to start off the final set. Despite using both timeouts, the team was unable to cool down the Wildcats, who won set five 15-10 and the match 3-2.
“Moving forward we gotta get back in the gym and train,” Belzung said. “UAlbany has been doing a really good job of picking apart defenses, and so I think we need to understand what our seams are moving forward and be able to dig balls in those seams.”
The Seawolves will look to regain their momentum when they face Albany on Friday, Nov. 10, for their third of four home games to finish the regular season. Friday’s match against the Great Danes is set to start at 6:30 p.m. at Pritchard Gymnasium.