BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo volleyball team capped off a tremendous weekend on Saturday night as the Bulls swept the Ohio Bobcats for the first time, picking up the 3-0 victory. The Bulls have clinched a spot in the upcoming Mid-American Conference Tournament with the win as UB improves to 8-6 in league play and 16-10 overall. The 16 wins are the most for Buffalo in the Blair Brown Lipsitz era.
UB took the contest, 25-14, 25-11, 25-20, as Buffalo hit .343 for the night opposed to just .053 for the Bobcats. In the first two sets, UB hit .455 as it had just two combined errors on 66 total attacks.
The Bulls opened the first set with a quick 7-2 run and Buffalo extended the lead to 15-7 following a block from Polina Prokudina and Megan Wernette. A kill from Prokudina gave the Bulls the 21-13 lead and another Prokudina kill clinched the set. Junior Rachel Sanks had a huge first set as she recorded seven kills and no errors on nine swings.
As a team, the Bulls had 16 kills in the second and no errors, led again by Sanks, who had seven kills in a blowout second set. With Buffalo leading 9-7 in the second, the Bulls scored five straight points, getting a kill from Sanks to put UB ahead 14-7. A kill by senior Megan Wernette extended the lead to 19-8 before Ohio scored three straight pull within 19-11. However, UB would go ahead to score the final six points as Sanks had four kills during the 6-0 run, while also contributing to a block with Wernette.
The third set was the closest of the three, but the Bulls answered the call when they needed to. Ohio stormed out to a 10-4 lead and continued to hold a 16-11 lead when the Bulls answered by going on a set-changing 7-0 run. Junior Kristina Nieves had a pair of kills in the run and UB got solid serving from Lauren Slovoski, who added a service ace during the run that gave Buffalo an 18-16 lead. A double block from Nieves and Prokudina extended the lead to 23-17 and another kill from Nieves ultimately clinched the set and the match.
Sanks had a match high 16 kills as she finished with just two errors, hitting .519 for the night. The 16 kills were one off her career high, but it was by far a career best in three-set matches. Sophomore Andrea Mitrovic had nine kills, while Nieves finished with eight kills and just one error, as she hit .538.
Wernette added six kills, while Prokudina finished with five. Sophomore setter Tia Gleason had 41 sets, averaging just under 13.7 assists per set.
The Bulls had another strong defensive night that featured 59 digs and 11.0 total blocks. Mitrovic led the Bulls with 17 digs, while junior Hannah Watson finished with 13 digs and senior Larra Bickelhaupt added 11. Gleason finished with eight.
In the blocking department, Nieves finished with six, including one solo, while Wernette and Prokudina each had four. Sanks finished with three blocks and Gleason had two.
Buffalo will conclude its three-match homestand on Thursday night when the Bulls host Akron at 7:00 pm. The Bulls will celebrate their three seniors that night: Raven Jordan, Larra Bickelhaupt, and Megan Wernette.