This week, we've actually got some real-live college sports action to cover in our Volleyball Roundup, after UB opened their season with a split over four games in their own tournament, hosted at Alumni Arena. UB's two wins; smooth, controlled, three-set assaults on Siena and Canisius; were bookended by three-set sweeps at the hands of Lehigh and Ole Miss. This is your Volleyball Roundup.
Over the course of the season I'll be rotating among the two soccer teams and volleyball to maximize the amount of live coverage Bull Run is able to provide. This weekend, with three of four soccer games on the road, I was able to devote all of my non-football energy to volleyball.
If you want to catch up on our preseason coverage, you can find last week's Roundup at the link below:
Note: As I mentioned in yesterday's Soccer Roundup, I'm going to start including the Massey Ratings for both UB and their opponents in these posts, so that we can all get a better picture of the quality of competition in these less-covered sports.
In the season opener on Friday evening, UB (MR 200) looked a little sloppy and dropped the match in three sets to Lehigh (MR 195) without looking all that much worse than the Mountain Hawks:
On one hand, Lehigh was not *that* much better than the Bulls, but just managed to string together a few more points at critical points. On the other, UB was unable to take advantage of many Lehigh errors, and committed a number of unforced mistakes on their own end.
Saturday was a better day for the Bulls and Head Coach Reed Sunahara. The forces of good bounced back with a pair of victories over Siena (MR 214) and Canisius (MR 293):
A good night's rest was apparently all that UB's volleyball team needed after starting their season with a three-set loss at the hands of Lehigh Friday night, because on Saturday the Bulls looked like an entirely different team, one that would have rolled through their opening match competition.
Key in UB's Saturday success was the improved play of setter Megan Lin and the return and surprising back line effectiveness of senior Sable Staller. I highlighted the two in my own piece above, but fan Paige Miller wrote more extensively on the two in his FanPost:
Despite their Friday loss, UB headed into Sunday with one match remaining in their tournament, and a shot at the title if they could topple Ole Miss from the SEC. Unfortunately, Ole Miss (MR 81) had not dropped a set all tournament and did not change their ways on Sunday, capitalizing on the Bulls' 27 attack errors and dropping them in three sets:
Ole Miss' Cara Fisher, who had double-digit digs in all four matches and 20 against UB, earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors for her efforts in Buffalo:
If you've got the time, UB is doing weekly press conferences for most sports now. This week Sable Staller and freshman Niki Bozinoski joined Reed Sunahara at the table to talk about their weekend.
UB is led so far offensively by Tahleia Bishop and Amber Hatchett, who are both near 4 points/set on their own, primarily on their strength of their 45 and 40 kills, respectively. Megan Lipski leads the way with 9 service aces, and Megan Lin, the only setter to play on the weekend, averaged over 11 assists per set.
On defense, Akeila Lane leads the way with 12 blocks, though Hatchett also has 9, while Niki Bozinoski racked up 64 digs on the weekend, followed by a number of players with around 30.
Around the MAC
No MAC squad sits undefeated after the first weekend, though Bowling Green, Toledo, and Central Michigan are looking for their first win. UB and Akron were the only squads to play four matches. In the Massey Ratings, UB ranks 10th of the 12 teams, who are evenly spread out, with Ohio unsurprisingly at the top.
This Week in Bull
UB will travel to Florida this coming weekend, to compete three times in the USF Tournament. They'll face off against the host Bulls (MR 153) on Friday, and then take on Florida International (240) and South Carolina (MR 86) on Saturday. Go Bulls!