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Buffalo Bulls Volleyball Roundup: UB wins USF Invitational

UB Volleyball is spending nearly all of September on the road, but that didn't stop them from winning the USF Tournament down in Florida.

UB Athletics

It was a a tough weekend for Bull Run's volleyball coverage, thanks in part to all three of the team's matches conflicting with a game we were covering live (Friday's soccer match against Bryant), or with the football game against Army.

Given how things went on Sunday, maybe I would have been better off ignoring the football game and finding a stream of UB's two tournament-clinching wins over Florida International and South Carolina State. This is your Volleyball Roundup.

I unfortunately don't have much commentary beyond what I can glean from the box scores and UB writeups, so we'll start with those and see where the world takes us.

UB Drops Tough Five-Set Match At USF - Buffalo

Bulls Edge Buffalo in Five Sets to Open Home Slate - GoUSFBulls.com—Official Athletics Web Site of the University of South Florida
RECAP: USF fans attending Friday's home opener were treated to a five-set thriller and the Bulls didn't disappoint with a victory over Buffalo at The Corral.

UB's (MR 207) first match of the tournament came on Friday afternoon against the host USF Bulls (MR 180). The first four sets saw every combination you can think of: a down-to-the-wire battle that ended with USF on top 25-23, a beginning-to-end 25-18 victory for UB, a controlling 25-12 USF win, and a hard-fought 31-29 come from behind win for our Bulls to force a fifth set.

Though a fifth set (when necessary) in volleyball only goes to 15 instead of 25, the two squads once again had to play a little extra. Unfortunately, UB couldn't pull out the win and dropped the final set 14-16.

For the match, Marissa Prinzbach saw her first action of the season on the way to 43 assists. Amber Hatchett let the Bulls with 10 blocks, Niki Bozinoski with 15 digs, and Tahleia Bishop and Megan Lipski paced the offense with 22 killss and 13 digs, and 19 kills and 14 digs, respectively.

Volleyball Wins USF Invite Following Saturday Sweep - Buffalo

Volleyball Wins South Florida Tournament - Bull Run
This weekend, the UB Volleyball team competed in the University of South Florida tournament, finished with a record of 2-1, and won the tournament championship.

Saturday went quite a bit better for UB, who dropped just one set on their way to two victories over Florida International (MR 196) and South Carolina State (MR 330). In the above links you'll find UB's writeup and Paige Miller's FanPost on the day.

UB had little trouble with FIU, faltering only in a tight third set on their way to a 25-18, 25-18, 26-28, 25-19 victory. I generally try not to focus too much on only one player in my Olympic coverage, and this team has made it easy, especially in this match as no fewer than five players surpassed double-digit kills. Led by Tahleia Bishop's 19 (with only four errors!), Megan Lipski, Akeila Lain, Sable Staller, and Amber Hatchett all topped or matched the threshold.

Marissa Prinzbach once again played much of the match at setter on her way to 55 assists, and the team as a whole had five players with 10+ digs and hit .324 in the clinching fourth set.

The Bulls used a strong performance against the weakest team in the tournament, South Carolina State, to claim the crown, sweeping the Lady Bulldogs 25-18, 25-9, 25-19 and making only 10 attack errors in their win. The match was a chance for Coach Sunahara to open up the bench, and freshman Cassie Shado earned a season- and career-high 10 kills towards the victory.

Helped by FIU's victory over the host Bulls, UB took the tournament crown. Tahleia Bishop, who averaged 17 kills and 13 digs per matchup over the weekend, was named Tournament MVP, and Megan Lipski and Sable Staller joined her on the All-Tournament team.

For her MVP Performance, Bishop earned Athlete of the Week honors from UB:

Bishop And Cicerone Named Athletes of the Week - Bull Run

Stats

In attack, Tahleia Bishop continues to distinguish herself as UB's top option with now 96 kills on the season. Lipski, Hatchett, and Lain are all averaging more than two kills per set, and Staller is just off that pace as well. Marissa Prinzbach saw a lot of floor time this weekend, and it seems UB has two solid options at setter, as she averaged over 10 assists per set. Lipski leads the team with 12 service aces.

On the defensive side of the net, freshman Niki Bozinoski continues to impress and lead the team in digs, while Lipski and Bishop are 2-3. Hatchett, Lain, and Staller up front control the net, averaged 2.5 blocks per set among them.

Around the MAC

Unsurprisingly, Ohio and Northern Illinois pace the MAC, both in the top 100 of the Massey Ratings. Just by win/loss, UB holds up well to the rest of the conference, which has eight teams with four or five wins.

This Week In Bull

UB is on the road again, heading to Chicago for UIC's tournament, where they'll face Western Illinois (MR 254), host UIC (MR 228), and Eastern Kentucky (MR 91). The Bulls will have a tough match against EKU, but can certainly come out of the weekend with another winning record.