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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Stony Brook women’s volleyball dominated by Delaware in series sweep

Setter Torri Henry sets the ball against Delaware on Saturday, Oct. 14. This weekend, Henry became the fifth Stony Brook women’s volleyball player to ever reach 3,000 assists in a career. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

After coming into the weekend on a six-match winning streak, the Stony Brook women’s volleyball team met a harsh reality against one of the conference’s top teams.

The Seawolves (10-11, 5-5 CAA) played host to the Delaware Blue Hens (14-4, 7-3 CAA) this weekend for a two-match set. The Blue Hens swept the opener 3-0 on Saturday and came back with a 3-1 victory on Sunday.

Stony Brook came out firing on all cylinders on Saturday, as a service ace and a pair of kills from outside hitter Leoni Kunz fueled an 8-1 opening run in the first set. After that, four different Delaware players combined to make five kills, spearheading a 9-3 run to close the Seawolves’ lead to just a point. Stony Brook held onto its slim lead until the Blue Hens finally tied it at 20 apiece.

Delaware eventually reached set point and took a 24-23 lead, but the Seawolves stayed alive. The set saw four set-point opportunities squandered until the Blue Hens finally put the game away with a kill from setter Ezgi Basaranlar sealed the 30-28 victory.

Head coach Kristin Belzung attributed the collapse to poor defense.

“I think we just let Delaware hit at too high of a clip,” said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “Their offense was a little bit too much for our defense today. I think some of that was just offensively, we couldn’t get our pins into a good rhythm to put [Delaware] in positions where they were uncomfortable.”

Stony Brook defensive struggles carried into the second set. Down 7-2, the Seawolves methodically worked their way back into the game, ultimately knotting the score at 20-20. They wound up taking a pair of one-point leads on kills by Kunz and middle blocker Abby Campbell, respectively. However, both proved to be short-lived, as consecutive kills from Delaware outside hitter Lani Mason set her team up to win it. Basaranlar followed through by delivering an ace off libero Julia Patsos’ arms to win the second set 25-23.

The final set on Saturday was far less contentious, as the Blue Hens established an 11-8 lead before the Seawolves’ wheels fell off. Each of Delaware’s next eight points all came via mistakes by Stony Brook before a kill by Mason capped off a 9-4 run to go up 20-12. After a solo block by setter Torri Henry broke the first scoring streak, the Blue Hens ran off another five points in a row to win it 25-13 and seal the sweep.

Belzung credited Delaware’s defense for being able to shut down her team’s offense towards the end of sets.

“A lot of it is their defense,” Belzung said. “They’re a good, physical team. I didn’t think we were in system the way we needed to be. We weren’t able to put Torri in positions to be able to give us good balls and give our attackers splits and seams to score through.”

Sunday’s opening set followed the same narrative as the previous match’s opener. Stony Brook had the upper hand early and clung onto a 10-9 lead, but Delaware went on a 12-3 run on the backs of Mason and outside hitter Madelyn Grunza to go up 21-13. Despite the Seawolves’ best efforts to come back, a kill from Mason iced a 25-20 triumph for the Blue Hens.

The second set was over right from the get-go with Delaware delivering a 10-point barrage to open things. Stony Brook finally got on the board with a 4-2 run, but the Blue Hens outscored it 12-3 to win the set 25-8.

After being blown out, Belzung stressed the importance of having a short-term memory to her players.

“Volleyball is one of those sports that … you have to reset depending on if you win the set before,” Belzung said. “I think we just fell back on what we had talked about before the game that you had an opportunity to reset and start from zero.”

The Seawolves jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the third set, but Delaware got itself together and outplayed them for much of the game’s remnants. Now trailing the Blue Hens 20-16, Stony Brook went on a 7-1 run, led by four points from Campbell. Delaware scored back-to-back points to tie it at 23, but a kill by Kunz and an attack error by Mason handed the Seawolves their only set victory of the weekend.

Looking to build on the momentum, Stony Brook immediately found itself in another close set, trailing 8-7. The Blue Hens followed with a seven-point rampage to take a commanding 15-7 lead. They carried that lead to the end of the set, winning by a final score of 25-20 to secure the series sweep.

The Seawolves’ offense was sloppy this weekend, as their 48 attack errors limited them to just a .130 hitting percentage, which was more than doubled by Delaware’s .318 clip. Moore was their top scorer, tallying 25.5 points. Her 5 aces on Sunday were a career high. Kunz was second on the team with 21 total points and led Stony Brook with 19 kills.

Henry continued to be an important cog in the offense, tallying 65 assists. During Saturday’s match, she became only the fifth Seawolf to record 3,000 assists in her career. Her 10.97 assists per set lead the CAA.

Patsos led the team with 29 digs between the two matches. Middle blocker Ayanna Pierre Louis led the team with three total blocks (one solo and two assists).

Stony Brook will now hit the road for its next matchup with the Towson Tigers in Maryland. Opening sets are scheduled for 6 p.m. this upcoming Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. The Tigers will enter the weekend atop of the Coastal Athletic Association standings with an 8-2 record in conference and 15-5 overall. They swept the University of North Carolina Wilmington in two matches this past weekend.

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