Women's Soccer got the UB weekend off on the right foot yesterday, but they're just one of ten different UB teams across seven sports in action over the next few days. Today, Men's Tennis began their autumn-ending MAC Invitational with a strong round of singles play, while swimming and diving had mixed results in their own pool and volleyball dropped a 3-1 road match to the Miami Redhawks.
Men's Tennis was the first team to start competition today, with the first round of the MAC Invite starting at 3:00 PM. UB has the full team save redshirt sophomore Tony Miller in the singles draw: Damien David in Flight A, Sebastian Ionescu and Pablo Alvarez in B, Jonathan Hannestad in C, Sergio Arevallio and Akhil Mehta in D, Noah Hajdu Anderssen in E, and Balaji Lakshamanan in Flight F.
All six schools that make up the MAC in men's tennis are in Kalamazoo, but Buffalo only faced off with representatives of three school today on their way to a 6-2 composite mark. Both losses came against athletes from Binghamton, the newest member of the conference.
The Bearcats joined the MAC at the end of this past spring after winning six straight America East titles. Their departure from America East has the conference re-evaluating whether to sponsor men's tennis anymore. This weekend's invitational will be a good litmus to see where the Bearcats will fit into the MAC hierarchy.
Other than the 2-2 record against Binghamton, UB went 2-0 against both Toledo and Ball State:
Damien David def. Elliott (BSU) 6-1, 6-3. Next Match: Tomorrow v Hazarika (BU), noon
Sebastian Ionescu def Wong (UT) 6-2, 6-3. Next Match: Formont (NIU), noon
Lesage (BU) def Pablo Alvarez 7-5, 7-5. Next Match: Cahn (WMU), noon (consolation)
Hureau (BU) def Jonathan Hannestad 6-0, 6-7 (10), 10-8. Next Match: Hjertonsson (NIU), noon (consolation)
Sergio Arevallio def Rigney (BSU) 6-3, 7-5. Next Match: Shah (BU), 1:30 pm
Akhil Mehta def Caputo (BU) 6-4, 6-3. Next Match: Cona, (UT), 1:30 pm
Noah Hajdu Anderssen def Miller (UT) 6-2, 6-2. Next Match: Downs (BSU) , 2:00 pm
Balaji Lakshamananan def Notaris (BU) 6-3, 6-4. Next Match: Sacher (BU), no earlier than 2:30
Before the invite resumes singles play, though, four UB doubles pairings will be in action at 8:30 am:
Flight A: Hannestad/Arevallio vs Toledo and David/Alvarez vs Binghamton
Flight B: Ionescu/Mehta vs Ball State
Flight C: Miller/Hajdu Anderssen vs WMU/Toledo
Other than women's soccer, Swimming and Diving is the lone UB team enjoying the comforts of home this weekend, welcoming men's and women's squads from Michigan State and Army into the Alumni Arena Natatorium for a two-day tri-meet.
In today's first session, the UB men's team had some bright spots but finishes trailing Michigan State (99-68) and Army (93-74). The women had a great first day, boasting a top-two finisher in all but two events, and lead both Michigan State (91-76) and Army (93-74).
The meet opened with twin victories in the 200 medley from both the men and the women. For the women it was Melissa Trail (back), Alexis Valedon (breast), Taylor Steffl (fly), and Megan Burns (free) bringing it home in 1:45.40, and for the men it was Jon Ekas, Itai De La Vega, Oliver Patrouch, and Antonio Lanzi winning in 1:31.78. Of those eight swimmers, half are freshman.
In addition to those two relay wins, several of those eight earned further victories later in the program: Megan Burns continued the great start to her collegiate career with her fourth win (against no losses) in the 50 free, while De La Vega won the 100 breast for the men's side.
Other Bulls had top-three finishes, as well. Trail and Ekas finished second and third, respectively, in the 100 back, while Oliver Patrouch nearly matched his classmate Burns in the men's 50 free, finishing 2nd in 21.49.
UB's particular strength tonight, however, was in the longer freestyle distances. Senior Jessica Powers and freshman Hannah Miller went 1-3 in the 1000, while later Spencer Rodriguez and Powers combined to sweep the top two places in the 200 free, and the three combined with Paula Stoddard to win the 800 free relay at the end of the night in 7:42.67.
Both squads will finish up this weekend's meet beginning at noon tomorrow.
Volleyball was the last UB team to begin play tonight, taking on Miami, who came in at 7-3 and in second place in the MAC East. Unfortunately for the Bulls, the first two sets went about as poorly as possible and built a hole that UB just couldn't dig out of, though they were able to take the third set to avoid a sweep in the 14-25, 17-25, 26-24, 21-25 loss.
Through the first two sets the Bulls were hitting just .078 and I think had no players above .100. Each set was bad in its own way, however. The first saw UB unable to connect, as they got just six kills on 41 swings, while the second saw them get better but make more mistakes, with 11 errors to go with their 12 kills.
Using a seven-point run in the third and then surviving a late Miami rally that erased a 24-21 lead, Buffalo was able to eke out a 26-24 win. Akeila Lain, Tahleia Bishop, Skyler Day, and Cassie Shado combined for 12 kills in the set, while the Buffalo defense held Miami to its lowest hitting percentage of the night.
With Marissa Prinzbach serving, Buffalo opened a 4-1 lead in the fourth, but quickly ceded a 10-3 run, which Miami extended to an 18-11 lead. Looking to match Eastern Michigan's five-set comeback win from a week ago, UB drew within 23-21, but lost the set and the match two points later.
It's almost surprising given how crummy the numbers are that five Bulls had six or more kills. Tahleia Bishop once again led the way with 17, but Megan Lipski, Lain, Shado, and Day all contributed six or more. Amber Hatchett and Sable Staller, however, combined for just two. The raw numbers look ok, but seven Bulls got more than ten swings and no one, save Prinzbach and Tessa Ooyama in very small sample sizes, hit above their season average.
Defensively, UB put up some impressive raw numbers that give a hint to how lopsided this match was. Three Bulls had double-digit digs: Tahleia Bishop with what I am nearly certain is a career-high 29, libero Niki Bozinoski (15), and Prinzbach (12). Cassie Shado once again led UB in blocks, but the team as a whole had just nine after two strong blocking games against the directional Michigans last weekend.
UB's road match against Bowling Green tomorrow has been moved up two hours to 5 PM in northwest Ohio. While UB is not out of things with a loss, it would be nice for MAC tournament seeding to get a win over the Falcons. The Bulls are currently 4-7 and last year missed the tournament on a tiebreaker at 6-10.
Too many Bulls teams are in action tomorrow, starting with tennis at 8:30 and wrestling at 10, and going through to volleyball at 5. Good luck to all Bulls!