Fresh off their first victory of the season against Georgetown, Stony Brook Volleyball traveled down to Tallahassee, Florida to participate in the Home2 Suites Tallahassee Seminole Invitational. While the Seawolves dropped the first two games of the tournament against St. John’s and No. 25 Florida State, the team earned their second victory of the season by defeating Florida A&M on Saturday, Sept. 14 in four sets.
“We are happy to be heading back to Long Island with this win,” head coach Kristin Belzung said in a press release. “I didn’t think we entered the match focused enough to execute our defensive responsibilities but I am happy that we were able to settle in and earn the result. We are looking forward to being back in Pritchard this Tuesday.”
Senior outside hitter Liz Pulver was named to the Home2 Suites Invitational All-Tournament team after recording 32 kills, seven digs and a solo block in the team’s three games. Pulver currently leads the team with 88 kills on the season.
The team opened the tournament facing off against local opponents St. John’s on Friday morning. The Red Storm took full control of the match from the first set, going up by eight points before the Seawolves began to string together a consistent offensive attack. By then, it was too little, too late, and St. John’s took the first set by a 25-19 score. Set two was more of the same, as the Red Storm created a lead that was too large to come back from before the two teams went back and forth. Stony Brook was able to cut the deficit down to four at 21-17, but St. John’s notched the final four points of the set to win 25-17.
With their backs against the wall, the Seawolves took advantage of several Red Storm miscues to take an 11-7 lead in the third set. However, St. John’s quickly gained the lead back and ended the frame with eight straight points to win 25-16 and sweep Stony Brook, who fell to 2-13 in program history against their Queens foe.
The team regrouped on Friday evening to take on a challenging Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) opponent in No. 25 Florida State. The Seawolves played the Seminoles tough in the first set, not allowing the lead to grow any larger than five and notching timely kills to keep the team in the game, but Florida State pulled away to win 25-21. Stony Brook started off the second set keeping pace with their opponent until Florida State utilized a series of bad sets and service aces to go on a run and take the 25-14 victory.
Having let the Seminoles dominate the back half of the second set, it looked as if the Seawolves would go down with a whimper as Florida State jumped out to a quick 17-7 lead in set three and had their eyes on the sweep. However, Stony Brook began to fight their way back into the match, displaying some of their strongest resilience and offensive energy all year. Freshman outside hitter Amiyah De’Long laid down three kills in a row and sophomore libero Paige Jaeger recorded two consecutive service aces as part of a 16-3 run that gave Stony Brook a 23-20 lead over Florida State. Ultimately, the Seminoles ended the set with five straight points, four on kills, to take the 25-23 set advantage and the sweep of the match.
Stony Brook began Saturday on a much different note, taking the first set against Florida A&M 25-20. In set two, the Seawolves took a five-point lead but allowed the Rattlers to tie the frame up. The two teams went back and forth until Florida A&M took advantage of an attack error by senior middle blocker Kendra Harlow to win 29-27. Stony Brook’s offense struggled in the set, recording 10 errors and a .119 hitting percentage, the only set where they hit under .300 in the entire match.
With the game tied at one set apiece, the Seawolves took charge in the third set, capitalizing on several Rattler attack errors to open up the previously deadlocked match. De’Long notched the final kill of the set that gave Stony Brook the 25-16 victory, the widest margin that the team had won a set by all season.
The fourth set was much more closely fought, as neither team held a lead larger than three. At first, it appeared that Stony Brook had gained control with a 15-12 advantage, but Florida A&M put together six points in a row to take the 18-15 lead. With the set all tied up at 23, a kill from De’Long and another from the recently-substituted in Pulver gave the Seawolves the 25-23 victory. Having taken three sets to Florida A&M’s one, the team celebrated their second win of the season.
Stony Brook returns home on Tuesday, Sept. 17 to face the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers at 6:30 p.m. in the Pritchard Gym.