Volleyball! It exists and has the same head coach it started the season with. Also, wins. This is your weekly volleyball roundup.
Coming off an 0-2 weekend and dealing with injury and illness among its starting six, UB Volleyball got back on the right track with a road win sweep over Akron and a four-set loss against Ball State that was just a few points from looking very different. Factor in that Ball State is on of the taller teams in the MAC, that Buffalo got fewer contributions from their top offensive threat who is still working back into health, and that the back up setter had a career day in assists, and I believe you can take a lot of positives from both matches this weekend, win-loss aside.
I have quite a few links for a volleyball roundup this week, in part because I have three for each match: my Bull Run article, Paige's FanPosts, and the UB Athletics-provided write up.
Thursday's match against Akron saw the UB attack improve significantly over the weekend before, hitting above their season average thanks especially to strong performances from Megan Lipski and Skyler Day, who finished with 13 and 12 kills, respectively. The Bulls also dazzled with nine service aces, five from Megan Lin.. The story of the match for me, however, was the defensive adjustments midway through each of the first two sets. UB had to come from behind twice to take a 2-0 match lead, and in doing so twice clamped down on a hot Akron offense, shutting down their attack.
UB Volleyball returns to the win column with sweep of Akron - Bull Run
It's easy to put last weekend out of mind after tonight's 3-0 victory for UB Volleyball in Akron. Despite the continued absence of Bishop and Prinzbach, Buffalo looked organized in defense and hit above their season average in offense in the win.
VB: Several Strong Performanes Lead to Sweep of Akron
The UB Volleyball team swept Akron on the road Thursday night, 27–25, 25–19 and 25–22, with strong performances from a number of players, despite having two regular starters on the bench (probably...
Saturday's match saw the return of Tahleia Bishop, from what we think was the flu, in a limited role. The junior, however, was still able to amass 11 kills to tie for second on the team. Paige also reports (I was not in attendance) that Marissa Prinzbach was also in uniform on her way back. At one point the live stats credited her with a set, but the final box score doesn't reflect it.
In the match itself, UB's three dropped sets were by a cumulative total of just seven points, which is very nearly as close as it can get. Clearly not at full strength, UB was able to play a typically strong MAC team to essentially a coin flip. A big part of this was the continued strong play of Lipski (11 kills), as well as a career day from Megan Lin (47 assists, another four aces), which came in part, I'll note thanks to Paige, to some pre-match work with Coach Sunahara on backsets. Sable Staller was the biggest beneficiary of that work, getting her hand on the ball much more frequently that against Akron.
Buffalo Volleyball falls in four sets to Ball State - Bull Run
Returning home after a Thursday win in Akron, UB Volleyball dropped a four-set match to Ball State today at Alumni Arena. Junior outside hitter Tahleia Bishop returned to the court for UB, but...
VB: Buffalo Stays Close to Ball State in 3–1 Loss
The UB Volleyball team faced one of the tallest teams in the MAC, the Ball State Cardinals. And Buffalo found a way to stay point-for-point with Cardinals, staying close in every set and...
If you'd like more of Bull Run's volleyball coverage, you can always head over to the Weekend Roundup videocast. This week I got carried away and talked about volleyball for 18 minutes instead of my planned six. Oh well:
UB Bulls Olympic Sports: Weekend Roundup Show - Bull Run
Volleyball at 28:40
I would be remiss to not highlight the recent play of Amber Hatchett. After leading the Bulls in kills and hitting percentage in both the Ohio and Kent State matches, she notched 11 in both matches this weekend.
For her efforts (26 total kills, 28 digs) on the weekend, Megan Lipski was named MAC East Offensive Player of the Week. The junior hit .442 on the weekend and is second for the Bulls in both kills and digs. It's the third Player of the Week award for UB this season, and Lipski's first.
The Mid-American Conference - MAC Announce Volleyball Players of the Week
Over the two matches, Lipski hit .442 from her outside hitter position. She led the Bulls with 13 kills in each match, while record just one and two errors in the two matches, respectively.
As a team, UB remains near the top of the MAC - #2 in fact - in Opponent's Hitting Percentage, Kills/Set, and Assists/Set. Megan Lin has moved to 6th in the conference in service aces/set.
Despite losing three of their last four matches, the team remains second in the East division and tied for most overall wins in the conference. After this weekend conference play will be half over and I maybe think we can start giving real thought to the MAC tournament.
This Week in Bull
Buffalo (RPI 156, MR 137) is on the road for both matches this weekend. They travel to WMU (RPI 161, MR 116) on Friday for a 7:00 match and Northern Illinois (RPI 105, MR 65) on Saturday for an 8:30 ET contest. As you can see from the standings and the RPI and Massey Ratings, both will be tough tests, especially on the road.