Volleyball reels in America East season awards

VESTAL, N.Y. – Binghamton volleyball earned the America East award, befitting the regular season champions. The conference released its season awards Thursday afternoon, and the Bears were prominently featured after a record 17-7 regular season.

First year head coach Allie Yaeger and assistant C.J. Wernecke were named the Coaching Staff of the Year and junior outside hitter Tsvetelina Ilieva It was a unanimous choice for player of the year. Additionally, BU earned five all-conference selections – the most in program history.

Ilieva’s addition to the all-conference first team was a young outside hitter Stefana Stan. Second team all-conference honorees were senior middles Anna Spryce and freshmen Julia Bonifacio the and Lottie Scully. Bonifacio and Scully also earned All-Rookie honors, while Spryce and Stan also earned All-Academic honors.

“I’m proud of how far our players have come and it’s humbling for them to receive these all-conference honors,” Yager said. “The hard work and dedication of the entire team has led to the success of these five players. They would not have been able to do this without each player pushing them every day. This is a special group of players and as a coach it is very rewarding. To see your vision for this program in front of you. . This group bought into the culture and believed from the start that we could do great things. I’m excited for the future of this program.”

Jaeger and Wernecke orchestrated a dramatic turn for the program. The Bearcats have won more games than they have in the past four years and their regular-season winning percentage (.708) is the highest in the program’s 21-year Division I history. Binghamton went 8-2 to secure the program’s first regular-season title and the host role in the upcoming America East tournament. BYU won its fifth head coaching title after former coach Glenn Kiriyama won four times in 12 years, including 2005 when Yaeger was an assistant.

In his first season in Binghamton after transferring from Seton Hall, Ilieva earned the league’s top honor. She ranked second in the conference in points per set (4.41) and third in kills (3.76/set) and aces (32). In 15 matches, Ilieva made six double-doubles and made 15 kills. He also dominated conference play with a league-leading 4.29 kills and 4.8 points per game. Ilieva became the second Bearcat to earn the league’s top honor in 2017, following Gabi Alisa.

Stan earned his second all-conference honor last year after being a second-team selection. She finished second in the conference in hitting percentage (.333) and fourth in kills (3.08/set). Stan has recorded double-digit kills in five of her last six matches, including a career-high 26 points in BU’s big road win at UMBC. He began his career in 2020 with All-Rookie honors. Stan also excelled academically with a 3.49 GPA in business administration.

Sprys was one of three Bearcats on the second team after a stellar season. He led the conference in blocks (1.32/set) and was fifth in hitting percentage (.296). She had five or more blocks 11 times during the regular season and had several key offensive performances, including 17 kills against Albany. Spryce was also selected for academic excellence with a 3.82 GPA in accounting. The awards are the first of Spryce’s career.

Bonifacio and Scully were key contributors all season and each earned second-team honors. Bonifacio was the most dominant freshman in the conference, earning Rookie of the Week honors eight times in 12 weeks. She finished fourth in scoring (3.71/set) and fifth in kills (3.02) – both freshman bests. She ranked eighth in attack percentage, aces and digs and recorded seven double-doubles. Scully anchored BU’s offense from the standoff. He was a four-time Setter of the Week and led the league’s most potent offense. In conference play, Scully led all setters with 10.42 assists per set.


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