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Bulls Fall Twice to Bowling Green


dj_paige
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The UB Volleyball team lost two late season matches to the MAC East Champion Bowling Green, greatly reducing their chances of reaching the MAC Tournament. With one match left, Buffalo has a 9–8 MAC record and needs a win and a loss by Northern Illinois to tie for 6th place, and then tie breakers would take over. The Bulls split two matches against the Huskies, and I haven't tried to compute the next tie breakers.

In the first match, Buffalo took the first two sets in rather dominant fashion, hitting 0.267 while Bowling Green hit only 0.141. Junior right-side Emma Gielas had 7 kills, while sophomore outside hitter Katrin Trebichavská had 6 kills and 4 aces. But starting in set three, the Bulls offense came to a dead stop, hitting 0.022 in set 3 and 0.095 in set 4, bothered by the strong blocking of Bowling Green and superior back row defense, led by libero Yelianiz Torres (who finished with 36 digs). When the Bulls' attacks were in-bounds, they were usually dug by Bowling Green, and when the Bulls went around the BG blockers, the attack often went out of bounds.

In the fifth set, Buffalo took a 9–8 lead on a kill from Trebichavská followed by an ace from Trebichavská. The Falcons then scored 4 of the next 5 points, to take a lead. The teams traded points until with BG leading 13–12, a kill by the Falcons' Lauryn Hovey (who led the match with 17 kills) and an attack error by Trebichavská gave the match to Bowling Green. Buffalo could only manage a 0.125 hitting percentage in the fifth set while Bowling Green hit 0.381.

Trebichavská led the match with 25 points, including a career high 7 aces and a team high 16 kills. It was certainly the most overwhelming serving performance of the year for Trebichavská, who only had 2 service errors. The 7 aces is just one shy of the school record, and second most in the MAC this year (tied with teammate Abby Leigh). Trebichavská played two years at Bowling Green before transferring to Buffalo.

Senior middle blocker Courtney Okwara had 14 kills and just 1 error and hit 0.433. Senior middle blocker Abby Leigh had 8 blocks. Sophomore libero Maria Futey had 25 digs. Sophomore setter Mandy Leigh had 51 assists.

In the second match, Buffalo was swept 3–0, hitting only 0.175 for the match, while the Falcons hit 0.235. The Bulls made a late run in set 1, trailing 19–12, only to cut the BG lead to two at 21–19, but the Bulls would only score once more. In set 3, Buffalo led most of the way, and held a 22–19 lead, only to see Bowling Green assert themselves by scoring the next 6 points.

Gielas led the team with 11 kills, while Trebichavská and Okwara each had 10, with Okwara hitting 0.400. Abby Leigh and Okwara each had 3 blocks. Mandy Leigh and Futey each had 14 digs. Mandy Leigh had 31 assists.

Notes:

  • Senior defensive specialist Jenna Sonnenberg made her first appearance on the court since October 7, taking the place in the rotation of junior defensive specialist Hayley Montoya. Montoya was unable to play and was in street clothes. She spent both matches on the bench wearing sun-glasses.
  • Maria Futey watch: since she took over the libero position, she has averaged 4.53 digs per set, the most by a UB libero in almost a decade. In the second match, Futey had more digs that Bowling Green's Torres, who is 4th in the MAC in digs per set.
  • Buffalo finishes the season on Wednesday, November 16, 2022 when they face Akron at Alumni Arena at 6pm (ESPN+). It's a must-win match for the Bulls if they are going to make the MAC tournament, plus they need some help with a Northern Illinois loss to Western Michigan (NIU defeate WMU 3–2 earlier in the season), and then some tie-breakers are needed.
Edited by dj_paige
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Looks like Wednesday night's VB match could still potentially put UB into the MAC Tournament. From the ubbulls.com website: "Currently, the Bulls are in seventh place in the MAC standings. The final spot for the MAC Tournament is up for grabs between Northern Illinois (17-10, 10-7 MAC) and the Bulls. Both teams split their season series in sweeping fashion. With a win over the Zips and a Northern Illinois loss, the Bulls will take the sixth and final spot of the MAC Tournament. Buffalo would win the tiebreaker on division win percentage. The Bulls would finish 7-3 in the MAC East as Northern Illinois would finish 6-4 in the MAC West."

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