Releases

For Immediate Release: November 19, 2005
Contact: John Hartrick (hartrick@binghamton.edu)
Phone: 607-777-6800

Binghamton volleyball captures first-ever America East Championship
Bearcats defeat Stony Brook 3-1, will advance to NCAA tournament

Box Score

ALBANY, N.Y.--Second-seeded Binghamton (20-11) defeated No. 4 Stony Brook, 3-1, Saturday evening to capture the school's first-ever America East volleyball championship. The Bearcats, who were picked to finish sixth in the coaches' preseason poll, will now advance to the NCAA tournament, which begins the first weekend in December.

At Albany's University Gym, Binghamton won by scores of 30-20, 28-30, 30-21, 30-28, topping their longtime SUNY rivals for the third time this season.

"It's truly been one of those dream seasons," head coach Glenn Kiriyama said. "It's been magical how things have worked out. We never could have expected such an ending ... it's just been tremendous. Everyone's worked so hard and we've truly earned it this year."

In the clinching game 4, BU trailed 28-26 before freshman outside hitter Brianna Strong (Elkhart, Ind.) tied the game with a pair of kills. A Stony Brook attack error gave BU a 29-28 lead before junior Megan Hoag (Brunswick, Ohio) served an ace to end the match and give BU the championship.

Sophomore middle blocker Jacki Kane (Centennial, Colo.) led BU with 11 kills and 19 digs and was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Performer. Kane hit .360 for the match and added eight blocks.

Joining Kane on the all-tournament team were junior outside hitter Katie Brody (Vestal, N.Y.) and junior setter Ashley Meffert (Louisville, Ky.). Brody totalled 13 kills and 15 digs while Meffert handed out 42 assists and posted a team-high 21 digs.

Strong was the fourth player to record a double-double. She contributed 10 kills and 19 digs.

"Throughout the season each conference win was a stepping stone for us, helping give us confidence," Kiriyama added. "Then the idea of actually winning the conference began to solidify as the season went on. And tonight it was there for the taking. To me one of the turning points was the New Hampshire match (a 3-2 BU win on Oct. 2). We were down 0-2 at home and battled back to sweep the final three games, giving us our first-ever win over New Hampshire. I felt that was a big-time win for our program and helped lead into victories over Albany and Maine."

The Bearcats will now carry the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, which begins on December 1, 2 or 3. The selection show will be aired live on ESPNews at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 27.

NOTES
Binghamton advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament in both 1995 and 1997 ... The Bearcats have now won 12 of their last 14 matches ... The 20 victories is the highest total in BU's five years of Division I and the most victories since Kiriyama's 1999 Division II team went 27-9 en route to an ECAC championship.

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