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Bulls Lose Twice on #One4Mon Weekend

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Jersey of Monika Šimkova during the pre-game announcements of starting lineups, held by Kyndal Bacon and Paige Beck
ubbulls.com

Officially, this was #One4Mon weekend at UB sporting events, with announcements and videos about UB volleyball player Monika Šimkova played at all home football, soccer and volleyball events. Šimkova, suffering from a severe bacterial infection, had to have both legs amputated above the knees to save her life. A GoFundMe account set up for Šimkova has raised over $130,000 from people around the world.

For every volleyball match this season, seniors Paige Beck and Kyndal Bacon have held Šimkova’s jersey during the announcement of the starting line-ups. #One4Mon t-shirts have been created, and worn by the volleyball players and coaches and team attendants.

On the court, the Bulls were not very successful this weekend against the Ohio Bobcats, who had won only two matches before this weekend. Buffalo lost both matches, winning only one set. Buffalo is now 9–12 on the season, 2–7 in the MAC, and has a seven match losing streak.

In the first match, on Friday night, Buffalo nearly won the second set, having a set point at 25–24 arising on an ace from sophomore outside hitter Milla Malik. But three Ohio points earned the set victory for the Bobcats. Buffalo took the third set 25–20, finishing off the set with five consecutive points, three on kills from sophomore right side Emma Gielas and one on an ace from freshman setter Mandy Leigh. But then Buffalo struggled in the fourth set, hitting 0.000 and lost 25–14.

Gielas led the team with 18 points (17 kills and 2 block assists) while Malik scored 13.5 points (12 kills and 3 block assists). Junior middle blocker Courtney Okwara led the team with 5 block assists. Leigh had 40 assists. Malik, Leigh and freshman libero Hannah Jacoby each had 11 digs.

The Bobcats swept the Bulls in the Saturday afternoon match. The Bulls could hit only 0.081 for the match, while Ohio hit 0.286, and Buffalo was outplayed in almost all phases of the game. The Bulls offensive woes were the usual combination of weak passing, weak setting and attack errors, plus a very strong defense by Ohio.

Malik led the team with 12.5 points (12 kills and 1 block assists), Okwara had 9.5 points (8 kills, one solo block, on block assist) and no one else accounted for more than 6 points. Bacon had 15 digs and Jacoby had 14. Sophomore middle blocker Olivia DeBortoli led the team with 4 block assists.

Buffalo next plays at Kent State on Friday, October 22 at 6pm and again on Saturday, October 23 at 4pm.

Notes:

  • Gielas, the Bulls’ leading scorer in Friday’s match, did not play in the Saturday match.
  • Worth noting was the very strong weekend from Ohio libero Sam Steele, who had 25 digs in the first match (which is a very big number for a 4 set match) and 28 digs in three sets in the second match (a humongous number for a 3 set match). Steele was one of the reasons Buffalo’s offense was stymied. To put Steele’s performance in perspective, no UB libero has had 25 digs in any match (even the 5 set matches) this year.
  • Looking back at Buffalo’s third match of the year, when UB defeated Connecticut in five sets, it wasn’t obvious at that time how good Connecticut was. Well, Connecticut has a 14–6 record, 6–2 in conference, and Saturday night the Huskies defeated #19 Creighton. If the Bulls could defeat Connecticut, why are they now playing so poorly? It’s a tough question to answer.
  • Embarrassing: the program handed out to fans for the first match listed Tom Hanna as the Ohio coach, and that is how the Ohio coach was announced in the pre-game announcements — when in fact Hanna is the Akron coach. The program for the second match listed Geoff Carlston as the Ohio coach, which was correct except his name was spelled wrong. Carlston had made one other visit to Alumni Arena in 2013, when he was coach at Ohio State. That year, the Buckeyes were undefeated at 11–0 and nationally ranked, and Buffalo was also undefeated at 12–0. Buffalo freshman Siena Wilder served an ace on the first play of the match, but the Bulls would never lead again.