The Stony Brook volleyball team wanted to keep the momentum going by winning their first conference match against the defending champions, and after a tight first set, the Seawolves appeared to be on their way to a big statement victory, but the UMBC Retrievers took control in the final three sets to win the match on Saturday, Sept. 25.
“We didn’t start the day locked in from a defensive standpoint, which caused us to get tight and led us to be too high-error offensively,” head coach Kristin Belzung said in a press release. “MBC did a good job of keeping us off balance and I thought we allowed them to be in system too often. We settled in and had opportunities to regain control late in the match, but weren’t able to convert them.”
Both teams traded points early in the first set until a 4-1 run gave the Seawolves a 21-17 lead. UMBC quickly stormed back to tie the set at 22-22 and later took a 25-24 lead to reach the set point. The Seawolves came alive with their backs against the wall, as a kill from junior outside hitter Amiyah De’Long and two kills from sophomore middle blocker Abby Campbell finished a 27-25 Stony Brook set win.
UMBC responded well in a dominant second set, in which the Seawolves only led 1-0 and 2-1. After the set was tied at 6-6, the Retrievers flipped a switch and went on a 9-3 run to take a commanding 15-9 lead. The Seawolves cut the deficit to 17-14, but the Retrievers scored eight of the last 10 points to earn a 25-16 win.
The Seawolves looked ready to bounce back with a 6-0 run to start the third set — four points came on UMBC attack errors. Stony Brook kept its foot on the gas pedal, extending its lead to 17-8, but the Retrievers weren’t dead yet. From that point, the Seawolves made nine errors, allowing UMBC to come all the way back and take a 22-20 lead. Two kills from UMBC freshman outside hitter Mia Bilusic and one from sophomore middle blocker Beste Ayhan sealed the 25-21 win for the Retrievers and deflated the Seawolves going into the fourth set.
While UMBC took an early 13-9 lead in the final set, the Seawolves kept fighting and cut the Retrievers’ lead to 18-17. But UMBC weathered the storm and finished their 25-18 set win on a 7-1 run, with Stony Brook errors supplying three points.
Stony Brook’s 28 errors tied its season-high mark set in a 3-1 loss to St. John’s, while the Retrievers committed only 19 errors.
De’Long had a team-high 16 kills, marking the sixth time this season she’s led the Seawolves in the category. She’s now tied with sophomore outside hitter Leoni Kunz with a team-leading 168 kills on the season.
“I am seeing flashes of good volleyball, but we need to be more consistent as we get into conference play,” Belzung said.
Now at 6-9 (0-1 AE), the Seawolves will travel to face the Binghamton Bearcats at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1 before heading to Albany to play the Great Danes at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 3.