Stony Brook’s volleyball team will need to wait another week for its first win.
The Seawolves (0-5, 0-2 AE) were swept at home by the UMBC Retrievers this weekend, losing both games in five sets. Though the team’s young hitters showed promise, their inexperience was evident. They committed 50 errors between the two games, many of them coming at the end of close sets.
Stony Brook’s loss on Saturday came in perhaps the most frustrating way possible. The Seawolves won the first two sets and took the third to match point, but two straight attack errors erased their lead. They never recovered, dropping the next two sets as well.
Visually, Stony Brook was the more polished team, but lost the assist battle 61-46. UMBC’s freshman setter Aysia Miller, coming off an America East Setter of the Week award, had 55 assists alone, setting a freshman record for her school.
The Seawolves won the first set 25-22, snapping an eight-set losing streak from their first three games. Four UMBC (2-1, 2-0 AE) errors in five points allowed Stony Brook to pull away halfway through, and freshman setter Torri Henry made the final kill minutes later. UMBC committed 11 total errors in the set.
Stony Brook looked its best so far this season in the second set, building a seven-point lead and winning 25-19. Sophomore outside hitter Amiyah De’Long had five kills, but it was senior libero Kiani Kerstetter that truly stood out. Her powerful serves sent UMBC diving all over the court, and that confusion led to 12 errors.
A sweep seemed imminent until a thrilling third set erased Stony Brook’s momentum. The Seawolves fell behind 12-4, but freshman outside hitter Lauren Schmitz rallied the team with two straight kills, eventually tying the score. After the teams traded points, Stony Brook took a 24-23 lead, just one point away from ending the match.
Despite two stunning digs from Kerstetter, the team’s inexperience finally reared its head. Two consecutive attack errors from De’Long gave UMBC the set, sending the Seawolves to the bench with mirrored looks of disbelief.
The team never fully regrouped, trailing for most of the fourth set and losing it 25-20. At one point, they committed errors on four straight points.
The decisive fifth set felt like a rehash of the third. Although Stony Brook got more kills than UMBC, its numerous attack errors led to a 13-13 tie score. From there, UMBC quickly won two straight kills to end the set 15-13, and the match 3-2.
On Sunday, the Seawolves’ inability to close out sets continued. Though they led at some point in each of the first four sets, they lost two of them before falling apart at the end of the fifth set.
Redshirt-sophomore middle blocker Nia Wattley continued her strong start to the season, finishing with 15 kills. She was the most intimidating player on the court, attacking the ball with such force that UMBC rarely even made contact with it.
The first set opened with a slew of attack errors and service aces, eventually leading to a 23-23 tie. Somewhat predictably, the Retrievers took the next two points off assists from Miller, putting the Seawolves down early.
Stony Brook took the second set 25-19, the only one where all of its players seemed to be at the top of their game simultaneously. An impressive service run by Schmitz gave the Seawolves a four-point lead that Wattley and De’Long padded with nine combined kills. When the offense stalled, Kerstatter kept the ball up long enough to force UMBC into committing attack errors before an assist from Henry ended the set.
The Seawolves found little success during the third set. Miller’s three straight service aces put the Seawolves in a six-point hole that they could not escape, despite a late spree of points from Wattley and De’Long that cut the deficit to one. Yet another attack error ended the set 25-21 for UMBC.
Freshman middle blocker Abby Campbell emerged in the fourth set with five kills to give Stony Brook another 25-19 win, and extend the match. The fifth set was barely competitive, however. Sophomore opposite hitter Emily Ferketic opened the set with three straight kills and UMBC led the rest of the way. The Seawolves mounted a mid-set comeback to make the score 9-8, but once again seemingly forgot how to dig the ball out in a close game. UMBC had five kills in the last seven points to win the set 15-9 and complete the series sweep.
The two losses extended Stony Brook’s losing streak to eight games, dating back to last season. They travel to New Jersey next Sunday to take on NJIT, who are also winless.