For Immediate Release: September 21, 2011
Contact: Terrence Lollie (
Phone: 607-777-2956


Week Four: Sept. 15-17 - Columbia Invitational

Below is a day-by-day commentary of the Binghamton volleyball team's trip to New York City as they took part in the Columbia Invitational.

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    DAY ONE:

    5 P.M. - Bus arrived in the back of the Events Center instead of in front of West Gym, already upsetting Coach Kiriyama. Departure time 5:02 p.m…..two minutes late. Leaving campus for about three hour drive to hotel in Tarrytown, N.Y. Itinerary estimates 9 p.m. as time of arrival at the Springhill Suites Marriot. First match is against host Columbia at noon on Friday.

    On the bus ride down the players choose a variety of activities to pass the time. Some of the volleyball players chose to study, a few were listening to music or watching 'The Social Network,' but most were sleeping. The rigors of being a student-athlete seem to be catching up with most of the players as the fall semester eases into its first month. Grace Vickers enjoyed some dual flavored Cheez Its while listening to her Dr. Dre Bose headphones. The coaches remained quiet throughout most of the trip attending to their notes in preparation for the weekend tournament.

    8 P.M. - Didn't stop for food so made it to the Tappen Zee Bridge earlier than expected. Tarrytown is on the east side of the Hudson River, not far from the Tappen Zee. Hotel is about 40 miles from Manhattan. We arrive at the hotel and check into our rooms then it was out to dinner at Friday's. The highlight of the meal was when Alex Roland spilled her water all over her table.

    11:30 P.M. - LIGHTS OUT

    DAY TWO:

    8:30 A.M. - Breakfast in the hotel with your typical setup, runny eggs, waffle maker, muffins, bagels, fruit, cereal, juice, milk and coffee. Girls prepare mentally for their first match of tournament against Columbia. Seemed like most of the team enjoyed some waffles and fruit.

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    9:30 A.M. - Bus departs hotel to head south for Manhattan, about a 30 minute drive. On our way down we pass through the Bronx and Yankees Stadium and Harlem and the historic Apollo Theatre. Bus gets to Levien Gym around 10 a.m. with minimal traffic as the first match of the tournament starts between Iowa and St. Francis (NY). Girls scout both of their day-two opponents while eagerly awaiting their match versus Columbia.

    Noon - Bearcats take the floor against the host Lions. BU drops first set to Columbia 25-13, wasn't a very close set. A more competitive second set witnesses several early ties and lead changes. Columbia takes hold of the frame about midway through the set. Binghamton is unable to get their hits to drop against a stingy Lions backline. Columbia takes the second set 25-23 on their way to a sweep of Binghamton, snapping BU's four-match win streak.


    1:30 P.M. - The team gets lunch down the street from the Columbia campus at a sandwich shop called 'Sub-Conscious.' The theme of your prototypically small New York shop, was creative names for their sandwiches. Xiomara Ortiz ordered the 'Angie Vice,' while Alexa Zbytniewski requested Pete's Pleasure, a chicken cutlet sandwich which she coined, "basically the best sandwich known to mankind." Other orders included the 'GPA,' and the 'Alma Mater.' On the way back to the gym Jordyn Suhr and Grace Vickers thought it would be funny to take a picture in front of Columbia's Pupin Hall…it kind of was.

    2:30 P.M. - Back on the Columbia campus to scout the St. Francis and St. John's match.

    4:00 P.M. - Team begins to warm-up for match against St. John's, looking to bounce back from their loss to Columbia

    5:00 P.M. - First serve versus the Red Storm. Bearcats come out hot taking a two sets to none lead. Alexa Zbytniewski tries to keep the team loose in between sets with her own rendition of the Ting Tings,' 'That's Not My Name' as it played throughout the gym. Unfortunately her hilarious dancing did not help because BU would go on to drop the next two sets. In the fifth set Binghamton was unable to regain their momentum falling in a heartbreaker to the Red Storm. To make things worse there was a cockroach in the locker room so the girls were unable or too afraid to shower after the match.


    8:00 P.M. - Dinner is at Shannon Bruno's house in Ardsley, NY. The Bruno's have chicken parmesan, baked ziti, salad and other random dishes. The food is gone in about five minutes. Shannon's younger sister Meghan is the entertainment for the evening attempting to steal everyone's cell phone. Coach Kiriyama even held the household pet, a maltese chihuahua named Hugs. After dinner Shannon gives some of the girls a tour of the house as the desserts are put out. Mr. Bruno had a plethora of kanolies, cheese cake, cookies and other fattening pastries.

    9:30 P.M. - Departure from the Bruno household. On the way back Alexa once again performs for the team. This time it's a rendition of Nikki Manaj's "I'm the Best." The hilarious performance lightens the mood after a tough day. Jen Fiorentino is attempting to stay up to date on the men's soccer match because her boyfriend is injuried goalie Chris Hayden. Unfortunately the volleyball team wasn't the only team to lose on Friday, the men's soccer team fell to Central Connecticut State 1-0. Vickers enjoys some Mad Men on her Netflix app, while the rest of the freshmen sit quietly in the back of the bus.

    10:00 P.M. - Bus returns to hotel….Lights out at 11:00, early morning tomorrow, first match is at 10 a.m.


    7:30 A.M. - Breakfast. Same spread as the day before, but this time the eggs were in the form of patties, most hotel guests seemed to pass on them. Assistant coach Reed did enjoy the strawberry waffle batter, pleasantly surprised when she tasted them as she thought she was using the normal waffle batter.

    8:00 A.M. - Check out and departure for Columbia and day two of the tournament…and hopefully a better outcome. Bearcats take on Iowa in a few hours.


    8:45 A.M. - Arrive at gym, team gets dressed and begins warm-ups.

    10:00 A.M. - Match versus Iowa. Binghamton is swept in straight sets for their third loss of the tournament, but the team's spirits appear to be up with one game remaining.

    11:45 A.M. - Lunch before the team heads down to Times Square for some sightseeing. The girls enjoyed 'Sub-conscious' so much they decided to go for the second straight day.

    Noon - Begin to head for Times Square but the bus driver goes north instead of south and delays the trip by a half hour. Many of the girls realized this before the bus driver did. Got a mini tour of Harlem out of the mistake.

    1:00 P.M. - Arrived at Times Square. The team splits up into groups, everyone wants to go to different places. Some wanted to shop, some wanted to see Rockefeller Center, some just wanted to wander. A few of the freshmen, Emily Litwin, Annelot Nieuwenhuis, Kristin Hovie and Amanda Dettmann hit up the four-floor 'Forever 21' store and were quite excited about it. Assistant Coach Rashinda Reed along with Grace Vickers, Jordyn Suhr, Xiomara Ortiz and Alex Roland went to the make-up mega-store 'Mac' and were very happy with their purchases. Seniors Jen Fiorentino and Julie Chambers accompanied by their parents made the long trek down to the Empire State Building. Other sights enjoyed by the team, NBC Studios and Radio City Music Hall

    2:45 P.M. - Returned to bus and headed back to Levien Gym. Conducted some interviews with the girls asking them about their favorite things about Times Square. Some thoughts included, 'all of the interesting people,' 'shopping,' 'the lights,' 'the Disney Store,' 'taking pictures with Elmo and Cookie Monster,' and 'being together with the team.'

    3:15 P.M. - Arrive back at Columbia. Girls prepare for final match against St. Francis (NY)

    5:00 P.M. - Match against St. Francis begins and the Bearcats quickly take command. BU disposes of the Terriers in three sets, earning their first win of the tournament and ending the weekend on a high note. Iva Partaleva is named to the All-Tournament Team. The girls were able to shower in a different locker room and avoided the infamous cockroach.

    7:00 P.M. - Dinner and back on the bus for the three-hour trip home.

    10:00 P.M. - Arrive at Binghamton University.

    On the team's performance over the weekend and what to expect in the coming weeks, Coach Kiriyama stated, "The tournament was tough overall and we have a lot of things to work on." "It was a good tune-up for conference play and we look forward to working hard this week in preparation for Cornell and Albany. We've come a long ways and the girls are maturing pretty quickly. And that's the thing about a young team, they don't know what to expect so they're gung-ho and eager to get going."

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