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Bearcats Volleyball fights tough but falls to Siena in 5 sets

VESTAL, N.Y.- The Binghamton volleyball team rallied twice, but eventually fell, 3-2, to Siena on Thursday night. The Bearcats trailed, 1-0 and 2-1, in the match, coming back to tie the contest each time. The Saints came away with a 15-11 win in the fifth set to take the non-conference match at the West Gym.

Siena won by scores of 27-25, 20-25, 25-19, 20-25, and 15-11, Thursday night. After dropping the first frame, BU responded with stronger play in the second. Sarah Ngo found Megan Burgess and Kristella Morina for early kills and then Gabby Alicea served an ace for a 3-2 edge. Siena took a lead and maintained a 14-8 advantage as play continued. Morina scored and then the Saints committed an error.

The visitors still led 17-12 before the Bearcats made their move to gain control. After three Saints' errors, Burgess and Bianca Anderson combined for a block to make it 17-16. Siena scored next, but BU answered with a quick 3-0 spurt. Ngo hit Shultz for a kill, and after a Siena error, Shultz served an ace to put Binghamton ahead, 19-18. The teams traded points, as the set was even at 20. The Saints recorded four straight attack errors and then Ngo assisted on a Kaelan Haag kill to close out the game and tie the match at 1.

After the visitors took a 2-1 match lead with a win in the third, BU came back with its best effort of the night in the fourth frame. Ngo found Anderson for a kill and then the Bearcats put together the highlight of the evening. Anderson's block attempt turned into a dig, which Mirei Kato hustled to run down. Kasey Muchnicki ended up looking to put the ball over the net from beyond the sideline by BU's bench. The attempt found the floor in the opposite corner on Siena's side, giving the Bearcats a point and a 2-0 margin.

The Saints scored twice and then Ngo assisted on a pair of Anderson kills. Muchnicki followed with an assist to Haag for a 5-2 lead. Later in the set, Morina scored two points as Binghamton grabbed an 11-5 advantage. Two Shultz kills kept the Bearcats ahead, and then Anderson and Alicea each scored, making it 18-11. Ngo found Morina for two kills late in the game and then Siena served out of bounds, allowing BU to take the set and extend the contest to a fifth frame. The Bearcats hit .286 in the game, totaling 15 kills.

Siena (11-8) took a 4-1 lead in the final set and eventually got out to an 8-4 difference. Ngo found Morina and Shultz for kills to inch closer, but the Saints came back with two straight scores. Shultz followed with a point and then Anderson scored twice, pulling Binghamton within 10-9. Another Anderson kill and a Saint error tied the set at 11. Siena closed out the match with four consecutive points, as Haley Howell posted three assists in the run.

Morina paced the Bearcats with 16.5 points, hitting .400 on the night. Anderson added 12 point, producing a .526 attack rate. Ngo tallied 38 assists and 12 digs, while Muchnicki generated 22 digs.

Binghamton (5-16, 2-4 AE) travels to Albany for an America East contest tomorrow. The match is set for a 7 p.m. start at University Gym.

(Courtesy: Binghamton Athletics)