Momentum for the Stony Brook volleyball team may be on the upswing after the Seawolves won their final two of three matches at the Towson Invitational, improving their record to 2-4.
The event was held on Friday, Sept. 3 and Saturday, Sept. 4, with the host Towson Tigers being the only team to beat the Seawolves. The two-time defending Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) champions swept Stony Brook in straight sets, but the Seawolves kept this match more competitive by scoring at least 20 points in each set.
Stony Brook took advantage of two early Towson service errors and led 9-6, but the Tigers quickly gained control with a 6-0 run. The Seawolves battled back and took a 17-15 lead following two more Towson service errors and a kill by senior outside hitter Hailey Barden.
The two teams traded points to a 22-22 tie before the Tigers earned three straight kills, the final two coming from senior outside hitter Emily Jarome to win the first set 25-22.
The Seawolves had another early lead in set two, but Towson fought back from a 5-1 deficit and took a 12-11 lead on three straight kills. Stony Brook managed to regain control with an 18-15 lead, but the Tigers went on another 3-0 run to tie it at 18-18. Down 20-19, Towson went on a 6-0 run to win the set 25-20, with kills from Jarome supplying the last three points.
Stony Brook maintained a small lead early in set three, but the last time they led was at 8-7 before the Tigers took control with a 13-9 lead and never let go. The Tigers finished the sweep with another 25-20 set win as they moved to 5-0 on the season.
Later on Friday, the Seawolves bounced back with a dominant sweep of the Morgan State Bears for their first win of the season. The first set started tight, but following a 5-5 tie, the Seawolves went on an 11-2 run and maintained control to earn a 25-11 set win.
The Bears kept set two competitive for longer and led 12-11, but Stony Brook took the lead with a 5-0 run. The Seawolves led by at least five points the rest of the way and finished with a 25-17 win.
The third set saw a similar pattern, as Stony Brook used a 5-0 run to take the lead and control of the rest of the frame. The Seawolves won the set 25-19 to complete the sweep in which they recorded 53 points compared to only 22 from Morgan State.
Sophomore outside hitter Leoni Kunz led the Seawolves with 13 kills while sophomore setter Torri Henry recorded 32 of the team’s 34 assists.
“I’m proud of our group for earning a win after playing a tight, three-setter with a very good Towson team this morning,” head coach Kristin Belzung said in a press release. “We are moving some lineup pieces around so being able to stay focused and disciplined through that is challenging and I thought we managed that. Ultimately, we are a very balanced team and I think that gives us some flexibility to match up in the future if we prove to be able to handle it.”
The Seawolves returned on Saturday and kept their momentum going with a sweep of the Loyola Greyhounds. The first set went back-and-forth until a late 5-1 run gave the Seawolves a 22-17 lead. Stony Brook fought off Loyola’s comeback attempt and earned a 25-21 set win.
Stony Brook controlled most of the second set and cruised to a 25-18 win before a tight third set. The Seawolves fought back from an early deficit to force a 15-15 tie, but the Greyhounds went back on the attack and took a 23-20 lead. Stony Brook tied the set at 23 and got some help from Loyola to finish the win.
A bad Loyola set gave the Seawolves their 24th point and an attack error at the end of an incredible rally clinched Stony Brook’s 25-23 set win and sweep. Junior outside hitter Amiyah De’Long led the Seawolves with 10 kills while redshirt junior middle blocker Enitan Omolewa recorded six of Stony Brook’s 11 blocks, along with six kills and four digs.
“It feels great to get another win today, especially because we really had to fight at the end of this one,” Belzung said in a press release. “We never really got in a good rhythm offensively, stemming from passing struggles. I thought our blocking was really good and allowed us to be able to score in transition. I also thought we competed as servers, we were a little too high-error, but earned points prior to those misses.”
Following an 0-3 start to the season at the Florida Atlantic Tournament, the Seawolves picked up two significant wins as they look to avoid a slow start, something that plagued the team in the spring.
Now at 2-4, Stony Brook will have its home-opener against the Hofstra Pride in the Battle of Long Island in Pritchard Gymnasium on Tuesday, Sept. 7 at 6 p.m.