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Volleyball Rallies, But Falls At New Hampshire

Senior Grace Vickers led the Bearcats with a career-high 23 kills

November 17, 2013


Volleyball Rallies, But Falls At New Hampshire

Box Score

Terrence Lollie (tlollie@binghamton.edu)

DURHAM, N.H. – The Binghamton volleyball team rallied from a 2-0 deficit behind a career-high 23 kills from senior Grace Vickers, but it wasn’t enough as New Hampshire held on for the five-set victory, Sunday afternoon at Lundholm Gymnasium. The Bearcats (9-19, 7-7 AE) completed its season with a 20-25, 20-25, 25-21, 25-23 and 15-7 loss to the America East regular season champion Wildcats (18-12, 12-2 AE).

“It was a tough match for us and we didn’t play our best,” head coach Glenn Kiriyama said. “Grace really carried us and was unstoppable out there. We just made too many errors and were unable to get back into the fifth set. It was a good comeback though and it was nice to see our girls fight. The match was tight throughout and I was happy to see us continue to battle. It’s a tough ending to our season though…I thought the team worked hard all year, but we just didn’t get the key wins when we needed them.”

Vickers finished her career with one of the best games of her career connecting on an America East season-best 23 terminations, which broke her career mark of 18 set back on Oct. 15 versus Cornell. It was also a career day for the other fourth-year senior for the Bearcats as libero Xiomara Ortiz tied her career-high in digs for a third time with 32. The duo will go down in Binghamton volleyball history as two of the best players the illustrious program has ever seen.

In an opening frame of runs, Binghamton took the early advantage, 7-4, thanks to a Megan Burgess kill. New Hampshire countered with a 4-0 run to take its first lead, but a second Burgess kill leveled the stanza. From there the Wildcats erupted on a 7-1 run to take a 15-9 advantage. Binghamton emphatically answered however, with an 11-2 run capped by three straight Allison Hovie kills to regain the lead 20-17. That would be all the scoring for the Bearcats however, as New Hampshire ended the set on an 8-0 run to take the opening frame 25-20. Allison Hovie registered five kills in the set for the Bearcats, who hit .306.

After the two teams battled early in the second set, kills by Burgess and Kristin Hovie handed Binghamton a 10-8 lead. A pair of terminations by Vickers helped the Bearcats maintain its cushion before back-to-back kills by Allison Hovie and Shannon Kirkpatrick extended the lead to four, 16-12. However, similar to the first set New Hampshire responded with a 4-0 run to even the frame at 16. The Wildcats regained the lead and hung on despite three kills down the stretch by Vickers. New Hampshire took a two-games-to-none lead by virtue of its 25-20 second-set victory.

New Hampshire utilized a 4-0 run early in the third set to take a 9-5 advantage. Binghamton would chip away at the lead behind a pair of kills by Vickers. Following a Kelly Leach service ace, a kill and block by Vickers capped a 6-0 run by the Bearcats handing the visitors a 15-13 edge. The Bearcats maintained its lead thanks to an Amanda Dettmann ace and Allison Hovie kill. New Hampshire fought back to level the frame twice late in the set, but back-to-back kills by Vickers put Binghamton up for good. Vickers had a monster set with eight kills aiding Binghamton’s 25-21 third set victory.

Binghamton extended the match to a fifth set with a 25-23 fourth set victory. Three early kills by Vickers helped Binghamton jump out to a 6-3 lead, but a 4-0 run by New Hampshire gave the Wildcats a slim one point advantage. Three straight aces by Vickers regained the lead for the Bearcats before a second 4-0 run by New Hampshire put the Wildcats up one and forced a Binghamton timeout. From there the Bearcats went on a 6-2 run ignited by kills from Kirkpatrick and Burgess. A late block by Vickers and Dettmann coupled with a Leach kill handed the Bearcats a 21-18 advantage. New Hampshire worked back to even the frame at 23 following a 3-0 run, but an Allison Hovie kill and block by Kirkpatrick and Burgess helped Binghamton end the set 25-23.

In the fifth and final set, Binghamton battled New Hampshire early as a pair of kills by Allison Hovie helped the Bearcats even the frame at six. However, Binghamton seemed to run out of gas from there struggling to finish off points down the stretch. The Wildcats held the visitors scoreless until the final moments of the set going on a 9-1 run to close the frame. New Hampshire held off a furious rally by Binghamton to take the fifth set 15-7. New Hampshire hit .320 in the deciding frame while holding Binghamton to a zero attack percentage.

Dettmann recorded her ninth double-double of the season with 50 assists and 11 digs.  Allison Hovie registered 15 kills and seven digs to conclude a solid first year where the freshman started every match. Junior Alexa Zbytniewski added 10 digs for the Binghamton defense.

The Bearcats were limited to a .174 hitting percentage, while New Hampshire hit .206. Binghamton was strong at the net with nine blocks, five of which came from Vickers, compared to New Hampshire’s five. The Bearcats also led in digs (87-85) and service aces (8-6).

Ortiz finished her tremendous career as the program’s all-time digs leader with 1,925. She also holds the single-season mark for digs (551) and digs per set (4.63) which she established last season.  Her career average of 4.45 digs per set is one full dig more than the next player on the all-time list (Jaclyn Strader, 3.45).

Vickers, who led Binghamton to the 2012 America East title, ends her career ranked second all-time with a .282 hitting percentage just edging out Jacki Kane’s (2004-07) .281 attack percentage. The 2012 America East Championship Most Outstanding Player also ranks among the top 10 all-time in kills (860) and blocks (276).

After advancing to the America East Championship for eight straight seasons (2003-10) the Bearcats will miss the postseason for the second time in three years.

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