Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Binghamton volleyball team let a two-games-to-none lead slip away as visiting Cornell defeated the Bearcats in five sets, Tuesday night at West Gym. Binghamton (4-15) fell to Upstate New York rival Cornell 21-25, 19-25, 25-13, 25-19 and 15-9 in a non-conference meeting. The two schools have met nine times since Binghamton joined the Division I ranks, with Cornell holding a slight 5-4 edge.
“I thought we lost our fundamentals down the stretch,” head coach Glenn Kiriyama said. “We really played well in the first two sets, but we forgot what got us the lead. The team played hard throughout the match, but I think we may have got tired after a pair of tough five-set matches over the weekend.”
Senior middle Grace Vickers led the Bearcats with a match-high 18 kills on a .303 hitting clip. Freshman Allison Hovie contributed 10 terminations while sister Kristin Hovie added nine. Junior setter Amanda Dettmann compiled her seventh double-double of the season with 36 assists and 19 digs. Senior libero Xiomara Ortiz also collected 19 digs.
In the first set, Binghamton forged a 13-11 lead thanks to a pair of kills by Vickers. However, the advantage was short-lived as Cornell took a 15-14 lead, its first of the frame. The two teams traded points until a block assist by Vickers and Kristin Hovie gave Binghamton a 19-18 lead. Cornell answered with three straight points forcing a Bearcat timeout and regaining the lead, 21-19. Showing resiliency, the Bearcats closed the set on a 6-0 run sparked by a pair of kills by Kristin Hovie. Vickers recorded seven terminations during the stanza.
Binghamton continued to control the match in the second set as a pair of kills by Kristin Hovie coupled with a block by Shannon Kirkpatrick handed the Bearcats a 13-8 advantage. Cornell responded with a 4-0 run to trim the deficit to one. Binghamton quickly silenced the Cornell momentum with a Alexa Zbytniewski kill and Ortiz ace. Down four, Cornell embarked on another 4-0 run to level the frame at 18. However, Binghamton again finished a set strong, going on a 7-1 run to claim the second stanza 25-19. A Dettmann ace and Allison Hovie kill aided the Binghamton run.
After dropping the third set 25-13, Binghamton held a slim 11-10 lead following a Dettmann dump in the fourth. However, a 6-1 run by the Big Red gave Cornell some breathing room. The Bearcats attempted to chip away at the deficit, but it wasn’t enough as Cornell hit .303 in the set while holding Binghamton to a .158 clip. Binghamton pulled within three several times, but that was as close as they would get as Cornell leveled the match at two games apiece, 25-19.
The fifth set witnessed Cornell jump out to a 3-0 advantage. A Vickers kill kept Binghamton within striking distance, but the Big Red maintained an 8-4 lead at the switch. A Dettmann termination helped the Bearcats stay in the frame, but the Cornell defense was too much at the net holding Binghamton to a .042 hitting percentage in the final frame. The Big Red took the fifth set 15-9 behind a .349 hitting clip, completing the comeback and defeating Binghamton for the second straight time in five sets.
Cornell’s defense stymied Binghamton all night accumulating 14 total blocks. The Big Red hit .273 for the match, while limiting Binghamton to a .115 percentage. The Bearcats tallied 30 attack errors which slowed down their offensive production in the final three sets. The Big Red also kept the Bearcats off-balanced with a solid service game, registering nine aces during the contest.
Binghamton prepares for another pair of America East contests this weekend. First-place New Hampshire arrives in Vestal for a 7 p.m. matchup Friday, Oct. 18 before newly acquired member UMass Lowell comes to West Gym, Sunday, Oct. 20 at 1 p.m.
(Courtesy: Binghamton University Athletics)