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Volleyball Swept Twice by Bowling Green

Sophomore outside hitter Milla Malik
ubbulls.com

The UB Volleyball struggled against defending MAC Champion Bowling Green, and dropped two matches by identical scores of 3–0. Buffalo is now 9–7 on the year, and 2–2 in the MAC. #One4Mon

In the first match, Buffalo dropped a close first set 25–23. Buffalo fell behind by four early, and then came back to take a 23–19 lead, their only strong stretch of volleyball of the weekend, attacking well and playing strong defense. Bowling Green then scored the last 6 points of the set to take the set. Buffalo made too many errors in that stretch, as twice senior defensive specialist Kyndal Bacon misplayed a playable ball, and freshman setter Mandy Leigh reached behind her to try to play a block touch (usually something coaches advise not to do), preventing the player behind her from digging the ball. Buffalo also returned serve poorly during that stretch; and credit where credit is due, Bowling Green middle blocker Madelynn Leubcke made a perfect solo block on a pipe set attack by UB sophomore outside hitter Milla Malik.

That momentum for BGSU carried over to the rest of the match, and Buffalo would not score more than 19 points in the next two sets. Nor could Buffalo exceed twenty points in a set in the next match, and in general the serve receive was poor for the Bulls throughout the weekend.

In the first match, Malik and freshman outside hitter Maria Futey got the most attack chances, and neither hit above 0.000. Junior middle blocker Courtney Okwara led the team with 8 kills, while sohpomore middle blocker Olivia DeBortoli had 7 kills (and hit 0.583) and sophomore right side Stacia Gollogly had 8 kills. Okwara led the team with four blocks.

In the second match, Malik turned things around and led the Bulls with 11 kills and hit 0.391. Futey and Okwara each had 6 kills. DeBortoli had 4 blocks and Futey had 3. Malik had 14 digs and Leigh had 11.

Notes:

  • Time to give a huge thumbs down to ESPN play-by-play announcer Brandon Loe. The video stream clearly showed the Bowling Green crowd giving a standing ovation at the start of the match, and Loe announced that it was for Buffalo senior Monika Šimkova “who cannot be here with the team tonight” ... and then didn’t explain further. Šimkova had to have both legs amputated, something you would think would be worth mentioning.
  • Freshman libero Hannah Jacoby struggled a lot during the two matches, and was replaced in the third set of the second match by junior Jenna Sonnenberg, who played libero for the Bulls all of last year. Sonnenberg made some good passes on serve receive for the Bulls, but twice instead of diving to dig a ball, she pulled back and didn’t make a play (was it rust or is she still not 100% after an injury, I don’t know).
  • In the last few matches, Leigh has become quite aggressive on offense. Over the two matches at Bowling Green, Leigh attacked 15 times, recording 6 kills and zero attack errors, many on setter dumps, a few full swings, and one push to the deep left back corner where there was no BG defender, something Leigh has done several times in earlier matches this year. She was not attacking that often at the start of the season. And over the years, it has been a very rare event for Buffalo to have a setter that attacks a lot, although last year Bacon took a lot of attacks from the setter position. Leigh stands six feet tall, and so it can really help the Buffalo offense if she is an offensive threat, not only because of the points she scores but because this also spreads out the opposing team’s blockers.