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Bearcats drop five-game heartbreaker to Northeastern

Box Score

VESTAL, N.Y.--Binghamton (14-12, 4-6 AE) fought off three consecutive match points in the fifth game, but ultimately dropped a 3-2 decision to first-place Northeastern (21-7, 9-1 AE) on Saturday evening at East Gymnasium. The Huskies extended their winning streak to four matches and have won 16 of their last 17 overall. The scores of the games were 30-26, 29-31, 27-30, 30-26, 18-16.

In the decisive fifth game, Northeastern took an early 4-1 lead and eventually went ahead 12-7. That lead was quickly turned around by Binghamton, as the Bearcats strung together six straight points to move ahead 13-12. Freshman middle hitter Megan Hoag (Brunswick, Ohio/Padua Franciscan) started the rally with a kill and then served the next five points to put Binghamton ahead. Junior middle blocker Anne Crocus (Bethlehem, Pa./Freedom) had three kills during the run.

The tables turned again on a kill by Northeastern outside hitter Rebecca Holland (San Antonio, Texas/Winston Churchill) and a Binghamton attack error. The teams then traded the next six points, as the Bearcats extended the match with one kill from junior outside hitter Morgan Jimerson (Grandview, N.Y./Nyack) and a pair from classmate Michele Heck (Chicago, Ill./Resurrection). The Huskies had the final say, however, as a pair of Binghamton attack errors on the final two plays ended the match.

"It was a tremendous match," Binghamton head coach Glenn Kiriyama said. "We had a good effort all around in every aspect of the game. In particular we connected better in getting our sets to the middle hitters and giving them good opportunities. Anne [Crocus] was unstoppable in the middle tonight."

After taking the first game, Northeastern appeared to be in control with a 25-20 lead late in the second game. The Bearcats began to chip away and closed to 26-24, but ultimately secured the game by winning the final six points. Crocus and Jimerson each had two kills in that run. In the third game, which featured eight ties, Binghamton took its first lead midway through the game and held the lead for good after a kill by Heck made the score 24-23.

The Bearcats got off to a quick start in the fourth game, but the Huskies evened the score and then used a late 9-4 run to build a 26-20 lead on the way to knotting the match at two games apiece and setting the stage for the fifth game.

The final stat sheet was cluttered with career-highs for Binghamton. Heck wound up with a career-best 26 kills to go along with 12 digs and four blocks, while Hoag established a personal best with 16 kills and 16 digs for her third career double-double. Crocus added 21 kills with six blocks and Jimerson tallied 20 kills to give the Bearcats their first match with three players surpassing 20 kills in at least the last three years. Freshman setter Ashley Meffert (Louisville, Ky./Fern Creek) dished out a career-high 69 assists and senior defensive specialist Nicole Savin (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y./Comsewogue) produced 22 digs.

For Northeastern, freshman outside hitter Whitney Turner (Manhattan Beach, Calif./Mira Costa) finished with 23 kills and 10 digs to lead three Huskies with double-doubles. Holland tallied 16 kills and 12 digs, while senior setter Kristin Ursillo (San Diego, Calif./La Jolla) had 59 assists and 10 digs. Junior middle hitter Shannon Brooker (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and senior outside hitter Briana Furch (Tempe, Ari./McClintock) each had seven blocks as Northeastern totalled 18.0 team blocks for the match.

The Bearcats return to action next Friday against New Hampshire with a 7 p.m. start time at East Gymnasium.
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