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Buffalo Bulls Volleyball Roundup: A Perfect Week

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I have been looking forward to writing this roundup since the Volleyball team returned home for the first time in three weeks and absolutely dusted Niagara in straight sets behind the arm of Tahleia Bishop, even getting a bunch of younger contributors in on the action in the third set.

I wrote about the victory over Niagara in last week's roundup, but following that match, the team (MR 121) opened MAC play with two more home matches; topping both Bowling Green (MR 228) and Miami (MR 156) in just three sets on Friday and Saturday. Three matches in five days on just nine sets is as good as it's going to get for the team now that weekend tournaments and the out of conference schedule is over for the Bulls.

With the stellar week UB is now sitting on their second five-match winning streak of the season and finishes September with a 10-2 record in that month, and 12-4 overall record.

I was out of town this past weekend and didn't catch either of UB's victories to open MAC play, so I'll turn the floor over initially to Paige Miller, whose time following UB Volleyball can be measured in decades, with some slight edits:

Against Bowling Green, Buffalo trailed only once in the entire match, at 1-0 in the second set. Buffalo took early leads in each set and was only challenged in the third set, in which Buffalo showed great determination to hang on and win 25-23. In addition to Bishop's 18 kills, Buffalo got eight kills from junior middle blocker Akeila Lain and seven from junior outside hitter Megan Lipski. Junior setter Marissa Prinzbach had 31 assists to lead Buffalo to a respectable .242 team hitting percentage. Freshman libero Niki Bozinoski and Bishop each had a team high 9 digs.

Miami put up a tougher test than the Falcons, but UB was able to once again win every set and seal the win quickly. In the first set, UB trailed 6-1 with their only point coming on a Miami error before winning 18 of the next 26 points to lead 19-14 before sealing away the set. In the second set, the deficit came much later, as the Redhawks enjoyed a 22-15 lead very late in the set. Usually 22-15 leads turn into 25-17 sets, but you already know the Bulls took this one. I'll turn it over to Paige, who is a fan of Skyler Day:

[Buffalo] trailed 22-15 when Coach Sunahara ... inserted Skyler Day into the lineup for the first time in this match. ... Sunahara's confidence in Day was rewarded on her first point, as she and Lain blocked a Miami shot for a UB point. Day then served tough for the next four points, and Buffalo had a 5-0 run and the score was 22-20 in favor of Miami. Buffalo would then get solid back-row defense and great hustle running down balls from Day and senior Sable Staller, back-to-back kills from Bishop, an ace from Prinzbach, and a kill from junior middle blocker Amber Hatchett would finish the set at 26-24 in favor of Buffalo. That would be the only court-time Day would see during the match, but in that time Buffalo outscored Miami 11-2.

Emphasis and elipses are mine. Hooray for Day.

The third set was tight throughout before Megan Lipski got three straight points from the service line to help UB to a 23-18 lead before Tahleia Bishop finished off the 25-20 set. For Paige's full FanPost and UB's writeups of the weekend, see below.

UB Volleyball Sweeps First Two MAC Matches - Bull Run
It wouldn’t be fair to refer to UB Volleyball as "The Tahleia Bishop Show". Buffalo used two strong all-around team performances to sweep both Bowling Green on Friday and Miami (OH) on Saturday....

Bulls Blank Bowling Green in Volleyball Conference Opener - Buffalo

Volleyball Powers to 2-0 Start in MAC Play Shutting Down Miami (OH), 3-0 - Buffalo

Stats

It's really fun and easy to write about a winning team: everyone does well and has something exciting to provide. But even with a 12-4 record as a team, Tahleia Bishop is standing out for the Bulls. The junior was named MAC East Co-Offensive Player of the Week for her efforts in UB's 3-0 stretch.

The Mid-American Conference - MAC Announce Volleyball Players of the Week
Junior Tahleia Bishop hit .288 in a 3-0 week for the Bulls, leading Buffalo to its strongest Mid-American Conference start in program history. Bishop tallied 50 kills, averaging 5.56 kills over nine sets, as UB blanked three straight opponents in Niagara, Bowling Green and Miami (OH). She posted nine kills in the third set against both BGSU and Miami to lead UB to straight-set victories.

In other stats, UB's strong start is starting to look good on the conference rankings. As a team:

  • Buffalo is second in offensive hitting percentage (.226) and tops in the MAC in hitting percentage against (.150)
  • UB has a slight edge over Miami for the conference lead in both assists (12.76/set) and kills (13.87/set), is third in blocks, and fourth in service aces

Individually, Paige pointed out yesterday that Akeila Lane is up to second in the MAC in blocks per set, but she's not the only Bull on the MAC tables, as Bishop leads the conference in kills/set, and setter Marissa Prinzbach is tops in assists/set.

This Week in Bull

UB hits the road for both contests this weekend, continuing MAC play with a Friday match at Ohio (MR 37) and a Saturday evening clash with Kent State (MR 187). Both matches will start at 7:00 PM and will have video available, linked on the UB website. Go Bulls!

Around the MAC

As I mentioned in yesterday's soccer roundup, I'm going to start doing dedicated "Around the MAC" coverage of Olympic Sports in a separate post, probably on Mondays. That way, I won't be trying to cover the rest of the MAC quickly to get the roundups posted as fast as possible, and I can get anyone out there paying attention to just one sport to read a little about all the others.