The Stony Brook volleyball team remains in a playoff position after splitting a two-game road series with the Hartford Hawks and the New Hampshire Wildcats on Friday, Oct. 22 and Sunday, Oct. 24.
The Seawolves (11-11, 5-3 AE) opened the weekend by beating Hartford in straight sets to mark their third straight sweep.
The first set opened with a Hartford lead, but the Seawolves worked quickly to tie the set up before going on a 3-0 run to take a 10-7 lead. The Hawks brought the set to a 14-14 tie before the Seawolves quickly caught fire and took control. Stony Brook finished the set on an 11-2 run, with nine of those points coming on kills and junior outside hitter Amiyah De’Long supplying the final two points on service aces.
The two teams traded points and runs throughout the second set, as the largest lead was one point until the Seawolves went on a 4-0 run to take a 16-13 lead. The Hawks answered with their own 4-0 run, and soon after the set was tied at 18-18. Four consecutive kills gave Stony Brook a 22-18 lead, but Hartford fought to force a 23-23 tie. Up 25-24, the Hawks had a chance to put the wild set away, but a De’Long kill, a Hartford attack error and a kill from sophomore middle blocker Abby Campbell gave the Seawolves a 27-25 set two victory.
The Seawolves rode their momentum to an early 13-7 lead in the third set, but the Hawks weren’t ready to quit. A 4-0 run cut Hartford’s deficit to three points, but the Seawolves got back on track and took a 20-14 lead. The Seawolves maintained control and kills from De’Long supplied each of their final three points of their 25-19 sweep-clinching win.
De’Long led the Seawolves with a career-high 20 points and a season-high-tying 17 kills. Campbell’s 0.476 hitting percentage marked her season high and led the Seawolves, while sophomore setter Torri Henry picked up her seventh double-double on the season with 35 assists and 17 digs.
“We knew we were going to have to take multiple swings in a rally to score tonight and I’m really pleased with not only how we defended but also with how we stayed aggressive and followed the game plan offensively,” head coach Kristin Belzung said in a press release. “I also thought we did a good job from the service line keeping Hartford off balanced. This is a big win for us to start the road weekend.”
The weekend ended on a sour note for the Seawolves, as they were swept by New Hampshire Sunday afternoon.
The Wildcats came out firing and used an 8-1 run to jump out to a 14-7 lead. Stony Brook fought back and forced the Wildcats to take a timeout at 15-11 before cutting the deficit to three. New Hampshire weathered the storm and took advantage of 10 total Stony Brook errors to regain control and finish their 25-19 set one win.
The second set went back and forth before the Seawolves used a 3-0 run to take a 14-10 lead. Another 3-0 run extended Stony Brook’s lead to 18-12, but the Wildcats found their stride and put together an incredible late run. The Wildcats were down 21-16 and ended up winning the second set 25-22 thanks to a 9-1 run, which saw Stony Brook commit one bad set and three attack errors.
The Seawolves looked to bounce back from the demoralizing loss and got ahead early with a 7-2 lead in the third set. New Hampshire cut the deficit to two points, but a 3-0 run gave the Seawolves a 17-12 lead. The Wildcats weren’t able to replicate their late run in the second set, but they did bring the set to a 23-23 tie. A De’Long kill gave the Seawolves set point, but three consecutive kills punctuated New Hampshire’s 26-24 set three win and sweep.
“This was a tough one,” Belzung said in a press release. “I thought we really struggled to execute early in the match which caused us stress. When we were finally able to get into a rhythm in one area we fell off in another. Credit New Hampshire for exposing us in those areas. We will definitely get better from this film, but it’s not ideal to have to learn those lessons from a loss.”
The loss allowed the Wildcats to overtake the Seawolves for second place in the America East standings, as Stony Brook now sits in third place with four games remaining.
The Seawolves will return to Pritchard Gymnasium for a rematch with the Hawks on Sunday, October 31 at 1 p.m.