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Volleyball drops two games at Akron Tournament

Graduate outside hitter Emily Costello jumps to hit the ball in a game against UMBC in the fall 2017 season. Costello gave the Seawolves a lead over the Canisius Golden Griffins at the beginning of the match on Sunday, Sept. 2. SAMANTHA MONTES/STATESMAN FILE

Stony Brook Volleyball did not fare well on Saturday, Sept. 1 in the Akron Tournament, dropping games to the Maryland Terps and Akron Zips. The Seawolves recovered on Sunday, Sept. 2 and defeated the Canisius Golden Griffins in four sets.

“I’m proud of our team for competing today against a gritty Canisius team,” Belzung said in a press release following the victory. “We wanted to be more aggressive from an attacking standpoint and I thought we did that, and it created some opportunities for our defense to make some plays.”

Game One: Maryland 3, Stony Brook 1

The Stony Brook outside hitters showcased their offensive dominance on the court throughout the tournament, as shown in the first set. Graduate Emily Costello and juniors Jordan Gels and Maria Poole accounted for 11 combined points, including a kill by Poole which gave the Seawolves a 16-7 lead. The team eventually took the set, 25-17.

Led by sophomore setter Nicole Alford and sophomore outside hitter Erika Pritchard, the younger Maryland frontcourt battled back against their veteran opponents. Neither team had control until a kill by Alford broke the tie and put the Terps up for good, winning the set 25-19.

The Seawolves began committing errors defensively coming off the set loss. The errors cost Stony Brook and Pritchard capitalized with consecutive kills, putting Maryland up 19-17. A late run by the Seawolves fell flat due to an attack error by Costello, the 10th Stony Brook error in the set, which gave the Terps a 25-21 win.

Stony Brook began the fourth set with a 9-5 lead, but it was short-lived. Pritchard countered the Seawolves frontcourt by recording five kills in an 11-2 Maryland run, putting the Terps up 16-11. A last-ditch effort by Stony Brook to make a comeback was shut down by Prichard’s career-high 22nd kill of the match, giving the Terps a 25-21 victory.

Game Two: Akron 3, Stony Brook 0

Stony Brook looked to have taken the momentum of Akron in the first set off a kill by

Poole, putting the team up 13-9. The Zips responded by going on a five-point run, taking a 14-13 lead and forcing the Seawolves to call a timeout. Both teams battled diligently, but an attack error by Costello cost Stony Brook the set, losing 26-24.

The Seawolves began the second set with a 12-3 lead, but the Zips battled back. Akron erased the nine-point deficit off a kill by junior middle blocker Ashley Richardson, grabbing an 18-17 lead. Akron senior left-side hitter Kayla Gwozdz’s kill ended a potential Stony Brook comeback and gave the Zips the 25-23 set victory.

A kill by Richardson began the third set and gave the Zips a lead they would not surrender. Akron took the set 25-19, sweeping Stony Brook in the process.

Game 3: Stony Brook 3, Canisius 1

Costello gave the Seawolves a lead over the Golden Griffins that they would not surrender at the beginning of the match. Stony Brook led by as many as seven points and took the set, 25-20.

In the second set, Golden Griffins launched out to a 17-10 lead off of a kill from junior setter Cassidy Ceriani. Canisius closed the second set with a three-point run, earning the 25-19 set victory.

Stony Brook looked to take the third set after taking a 12-5 lead off a bad set from Ceriani but Canisius fought back. The Seawolves maintained their composure and sophomore libero Kianni Kerstetter blasted a service ace through the Golden Griffins defense for the 25-23 set victory. Kerstetter was a standout in the backcourt throughout the tournament, tallying 49 total digs and being the sole Seawolves’ player named to the Akron All-Tournament team.

Both teams battled hard for the advantage in a tightly contested fourth set until Stony Brook went on a five-point run. The Golden Griffins once again attempted erasing the deficit but a kill from junior middle blocker Kendra Harlow sealed the Seawolves victory, 25-20.

The Seawolves will finally play in their home opener after competing in seven consecutive road games to begin the season. Belzung touched on the team’s anticipation of finally playing in front of their fans for the first time as reigning America East Champions.

“We are excited to be at home on Tuesday against a very good St. John’s team, and hoping to pack Prichard,” Belzung said.

Stony Brook will take on St. John’s on Tuesday, Sept. 4 in the Pritchard Gymnasium at 6:30 p.m.

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