I wish I had better news for you. I really do.
UB Volleyball finished September on a five match win streak, a 10-2 record for the month, and a 2-0 record to start MAC play. Tonight, after two more conference matchups, they sit at 2-2 in conference, having dropped both Friday's contest against Ohio and tonight's against Kent State in straight sets.
Last week FanPoster extraordinaire Paige Miller urged us, even in light of Tahleia Bishop's stellar performance to consider the whole team and their effort in consecutive sweeps to take both weekend matches. This weekend, however, UB found themselves without both Bishop and setter Marissa Prinzbach for both matches.
I'm uncertain why neither Bishop nor Prinzbach saw the floor this weekend, though Paige reports that Prinzbach, at least, is injured. Coach Sunahara filled the setter position with Megan Lin, who started the season at setter during the UB Invitational, while freshman Skyler Day got more time than ever before this season in Bishop's absence.
To an extent, losing your a-one attacking option is certainly going to derail things. Taking out your setter is only going to make things worse. On Friday night, the Bulls hit just .090 on the match, and things were even worse tonight against the Golden Flashes, the top blocking team in the MAC. UB hit just .050 in their second match this weekend.
Amber Hatchett was the leader for UB in both matches, getting nine kills against Ohio and seven against Kent State. No other Bull even had a positive hitting percentage in both matches.
Altogether, Ohio's win was a bit of a walk for the home team, who won 25-16, 25-17, 25-16 and were only challenged by UB early in the second set before establishing a 14-11 lead and extending it as the set continued.
Kent State enjoyed an even more one-sided victory, winning 25-12, 25-20, 25-15. UB surrendered the final nine points of the first set, a late four-point run in the second, and in the blink of an eye were down 23-13 in the third. You just don't come back from 23-13. Skyler Day did set a career high with seven kills, though I'm sure she'll eclipse that before long.
There's certainly no reason to panic: without their best player on the second touch and without their best player on the third touch any team would look wildly different. We can only hope that whatever kept Bishop and Prinzbach off the floor this weekend passes and the Bulls get two of their leaders back.
Good News/Bad News: UB will resume MAC play on Thursday, rather than wait til the weekend, but it will be a third straight road match, when they play Akron at 7:00 PM. Go Bulls!