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UB Bulls Saturday: Wrestling, Women's Swimming and Diving lead the way

The Buffalo Bulls wrestling team started their season with a big win in North Carolina, and women's swimming and diving also had a successful Saturday as a number of UB teams competed.

Matt Gritzmacher

More than half of UB's active teams were in action Saturday. We hit them all in this rundown. If you want to catch up on earlier competition this weekend, Women's Soccer closed out the regular season on Thursday, while Men's Tennis, both Swimming and Diving squads, and Volleyball competed yesterday.

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Wrestling wasn't the first UB team in action today, but they were the second, and tennis got top billing yesterday, so I'm leading with the wrestling guys, who opened their season with an apparently easy win over Campbell University.

UB took advantage of five forfeit victories over a Campbell team that coach John Stutzman described as in "transition." With only ten weight classes in play today, that essentially handed the match to the Bulls, but UB outscored Campbell in the five remaining matchups, as well, winning three.

Tyler Rill, Rrok Ndokaj, and Joe Ariola were all victorious for UB, winning by pin, major decision, and fall, respectively. Austin Wiegel and Alex Smythe fell to their Campbell opposites at 184 and 157 pounds. Results below are courtesy ubbulls.com:

RESULTS:
125 - Max Soria won by forfeit
133 - Sean Peacock won by forfeit
141 - Jason Estevez won by forfeit
149 - Justin Cooksey won by forfeit
157 - Alex Smythe lost by decision to Daniel Luty, 6-4
165 - Rrok Ndokaj won by major decision over Garrison Matthews, 12-1
174 - Tyler Rill won by fall over Nedd Batts, 4:03
184 - Austin Weigel lost by decision to Ville Heino, 5-4
197 - Joe Ariola won by fall over Ben Cruz, 5:34
285 - Mike Silvis won by forfeit

Wrestling turns around quickly and will compete again tomorrow, remaining in North Carolina for the Appalachian State duals, which begin bright and early at 9:00 AM.Appalachian State, Cumberland, and Gardner-Webb will also be in attendance tomorrow.

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Yesterday evening the men's and women's swimming and diving squads finished the first session of their tri-meet against Michigan State and Army with mixed results: the women went to bed with leads over both opposing teams, while the men trailed in both head-to-heads.

Both teams looked better today than they did on Halloween evening. The UB women built on their first session advantage, topping MSU 173-142 and Army 170-145, while the men's team didn't close the gap but looked stronger in session two before losing to the Spartans 185-130 and to Army 176-139.

UB swept both session-ending relays last night, but could only finish second (men) and third (women) in the opening 400 medley relay today. We didn't have to wait long for the first Buffalo victory, though, as Spencer Rodriguez won the 400 individual medley by over half a second with a time of 4:29.64.

Following Rodriguez, Scott Huang easily claimed the men's 400 IM race, topping Will Viana of Army by over two and a half seconds. Billy Patrum would finish third. Huang and Patrum were standouts for UB today, as Huang earned a second victory in the 200 breast, and Patrum finished second in the long-distance 500 free.

Like the 400 IM, Huang's victory in the 200 breast finished a UB sweep of the event after Cristina Czyrka won the same event for the ladies.

The women's side had a number of additional victories from familiar faces for UB. After continuing her season-opening win streak in the 50 free yesterday, Megan Burns topped the 100 free podium with a clear win by more than a second. Teammate Jessica Powers finished third, but got the last laugh over the field in the 500 free, which she led wire to wire. In Powers and Burns UB owned the two shortest and two longest events of this meet, as Powers won the 1000 free yesterday.

UB finished the day with a dominant first-place finish in the women's 400 free over its own B-squad, who outtouched the closer from Army in 3:33.08. The first team finished well ahead in 3:30.98. The men would finish third in their 400 free relay, the final event of the day.

Combining today's results with Spencer Rodriguez' victory in the 200 and the team win in the 800 free relay yesterday, and the UB women won every single freestyle race this weekend. It's easy to win meets when you dominate the most common stroke.

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Men's and Women's Cross Country competed in the MAC Championships meet in Mount Pleasant. Each team had one of their better showings at the Championship meet in program history, as the men finished fourth of nine and the women seventh of twelve teams. I will have a dedicated writeup of the cross country teams posted tomorrow before I head over to the women's soccer game, so stay tuned for more detail.

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Men's Tennis had a strong opening day of singles play yesterday at the MAC invite, and began work in the doubles flights early this morning, with further singles play coming later in the day.

Once again UB put forward a strong showing in singles play, while the doubles pairings were less successful. In the morning doubles session, UB went just 1-3 in the opening round, and finished the day 3-4 through two rounds, though Sebastian Ionescu and Akhil Mehta won both their contests to advance to the Flight B final.

Flight A
Toledo def. Hannestad/Arevalillo, 8-5
Binghamton def. David/Alvarez, 8-6

Flight A Consolation
Hannestad/Arevalillo def. Ball State, 8-4
NIU def. David/Alvarez, 8-5

Flight B
Ionescu/Mehta def. Ball State, 8-6
Ionescu/Mehta def. NIU, 8-4

Flight C
WMU/Toledo def. Miller/Hajdu-Andersson, 8-7

UB fared better in singles play, sending four individual Bulls through to the finals of their respective flights, and pushing to third-set tiebreaks in two of their three losses

Flight A
Damien David def. Hazarika (Binghamton), 6-4, 6-2

Flight B
Sebastian Ionescu def. Formont (NIU), 6-3, 3-6, 10-7

Flight D
Sergio Arevalillo def.Shah (Binghamton), 6-3, 5-7, 10-6
Cona (Toledo) def. Akhil Mehta, 4-6, 6-1, 10-8

Flight E
Noah Hajdu-Andersson def. Downs (Ball State), 7-5, 6-2

Flight F
Sacher (Binghamton) def. Balaji Lakshmanan, 5-7, 6-1, 10-5
Tony Miller def. O'Connor (Ball State), 6-1, 6-0

In consolation action, Pablo Alvarez was victorious in his Flight B match, while Jonathan Hanestad fell in two sets in Flight C.

UB was once again 2-2 against Binghamton, which is no fun, but what can you do. Ionescu and Mehta's Flight B final will start at 8:30 AM tomorrow, while David and Ionescu's singles finals will start at 9:30. Arevalillio and Hajdu-Andersson begin at 10:45 and 11, respectively.

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Like it or not, there isn't a team in the Blue and White that's more dependent on a single player than Men's Soccer is on sophomore forward Russell Cicerone. The Bulls already faced a tough road test in their penultimate MAC game this afternoon against West Virginia, and the obstacle got much larger when Cicerone went down with a lower leg injury in the eighth minute.

UB would hold things scoreless until the 19th minute. After that things didn't go so well. The Mountaineers' Andy Bevin opened the scoring to give WVU the 1-0 lead, and then twice extended his team's lead before the half. With the hat trick Bevin jumped UB's Cicerone in the MAC scoring tables. Bevin is now second with 12 goals on the season and Cicerone third with ten.

Buffalo held West Virginia scoreless in the second half but made up no ground themselves and fell 3-0 at the final whistle. The loss is damaging, but not critically so, to UB's hopes of advancing to the four-team MAC tournament: Both Bowling Green and Northern Illinois are eliminated with a loss in either of their last two games.

Bowling Green defeated Western Michigan in overtime today to move to four points on the table (Buffalo has five), while at the time of writing Northern Illinois trails Akron 1-0. The Huskies and Falcons will face off in their season finale, while Buffalo's will come against Akron. If Akron's current 1-0 lead stands, a Buffalo or Northern Illinois win will send the Bulls through, while a tie in either game throws things down a more complicated road.

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Women's Rowing competed in their final regatta of the fall season, competing in three races at the Head of the Occoquan. In the spring I will pay more attention to what constitutes a good time or not, but for now I can only say what happened without too much commentary.

UB's strongest boat in every competition this season has been the Varsity 8, which today once against put up the strongest showing of any Bulls group. UB had boats finish third, 11th, and 21st in their race of 35, with the top boat coming in behind only boats from Navy and Duquesne.

Buffalo also entered boats in the Novice 4 and Novice 8 races. The lone 4 finished 10th of twelve, while the two 8s finished seventh and 15th of twenty entrants.

Full results can be found here, with thanks to Assistant Rowing Coach Kerri Ann Kanaley Brace, who sent the link along on Twitter.

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Volleyball was again on the road as they continue their run through the homestretch of the MAC schedule. After a loss yesterday against Miami, Buffalo traveled a few hours north to Bowling Green to face off with the Falcons.

Early on, it looked like Buffalo would be in for another struggle, as the Falcons enjoyed a 15-10 lead in the first set. Buffalo capitalized on a number of BG errors to put together a 10-3 run. After a single point from Bowling Green, UB closed the set out thanks to three blocks from Akeila Lain and Cassie Shado.

The Falcons won the next two sets: one close, and one more of a runaway, to put the Bulls against the wall, but UB once again put a run together, with three kills from Megan Lipski helping to turn a 17-14 deficit into a 20-18 lead. From 20-20, Lipski took over, getting a kill for 21 and then serving out the final four points of the set.

Of note: through the first three sets Megan Lipski replaced Niki Bozinoski as the team's libero. I wasn't able to catch a video feed in either of this weekend's matches, but after the change in offensive strategy last Saturday, it's clear that Reed Sunahara isn't afraid to mix things up to find a combination that works. With Lipski at libero UB loses one of their more seasoned hitters, but she has regularly been first or second on the team in digs this season.

For the third time this season UB went into a fifth set, but were unable to complete the comeback, falling down 8-4 and getting no closer than 10-7. Just six of Bowling Green's points in the 15-9 set came from kills: UB had two service errors, gave up two aces, and committed four attack and one ballhandling error in the short set.

All told, the Falcons took the contest 19-25, 25-23, 25-17, 20-25, 15-9 and moved into a tie with UB at 4-8 in the MAC. Buffalo needs to split their final four matches to match last season's 6-10 conference record, though the tast will be easier with three of UB's four remaining matches coming at home.

After a tougher night up front against Miami, UB rebounded with 13 blocks. Three Bulls had double-digit kills: Tahleia Bishop, with 17, Lain (13), and Amber Hatchett (10).

UB next plays next weekend at home, hosting Kent State on Friday and Ohio on Saturday.

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Congrats to all Bulls who competed today!