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Volleyball Defeats Eastern Michigan

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Freshman outside hitter Maria Futey and junior middle blocker Courtney Okwara
ubbulls.com

In a match that will help the volleyball Bulls’ chances of advancing to the MAC Tournament, Buffalo defeated Eastern Michigan 3–1. Buffalo is now 4–8 in the MAC, one game behind Kent State and Northern Illinois who are both currently tied for the last berth in the MAC Tournament. #One4Mon

In the first three sets, Buffalo opened a lead but could not hold on to that lead, allowing Eastern Michigan to tie the set and even take the lead. In the first set, the Bulls took an 18–14 lead on an ace by freshman outside hitter Maria Futey, only to see Eastern tie the set at 18 apiece. Later, Buffalo went on a four point streak including three kills by sophomore right side Emma Gielas to take a 24–22 lead, but then Eastern again tied the set and took a one point lead 25–24. Buffalo ran off the next three points to win the set, led again by two kills from Gielas.

In the second set, Buffalo led 19–14, only to see their offense come to a crashing halt, and the Eagles won the set 25–23. Buffalo led 17–14 in the third set, only to see the Eagles again take the lead. Buffalo would push back in front at 23–20, but Eastern came back to tie. A kill from sophomore outside hitter Milla Malik gave Buffalo a 24–23 lead and then an Eastern Michigan error ended the set in Buffalo’s favor.

The Bulls would again take a late lead in the fourth set, and this time the Bulls cruised to the victory, scoring the last six points and never letting Eastern Michigan get close. The run was sparked by the Play of the Match™ by Futey at 19–16, when an EMU attack touched the Buffalo blockers’ fingertips and was headed out of bounds; Futey made a one handed dig diving to her right to keep the ball alive, and after a long rally, Malik scored the kill. Malik would produce a kill on the next play as well. Gielas gave the Bulls another kill on a bizarre play, after an attack by Malik was blocked, sophomore middle blocker Stacia Gollogly barely kept the ball off the floor, the ball ricocheted to Malik who could only one-hand the ball up into the air. The ball went straight to Gielas who slammed the ball off the blocker’s arms for a kill.

For the match, Gielas led the Bulls with 19 kills and hit 0.417, adding 2 blocks and an ace. Junior middle blocker Courtney Okwara had 10 kills and six blocks. Malik had 10 kills, but really struggled at times, and wound up hitting only 0.038. Leigh had 41 assists and 13 digs. Futey also had 13 digs.

Notes:

  • Buffalo had 8 aces and only five service errors. Malik and Futey each had 3 aces. Eastern Michigan had only 2 aces and 7 service errors.
  • Buffalo hit 0.444 in the fourth set, with just two errors, after not hitting 0.200 in the first three sets.
  • The 19 kills by Gielas is her season high, and she has had 14 or more kills in the last six matches. Gielas leads the team’s pin hitters in hitting percentage at 0.250.
  • Okwara and Leigh lead all of the team in hitting percentage (0.305 for Okwara and 0.313 for Leigh).
  • Buffalo coach Scott Smith, speaking after the match to ESPN, said that he expects Monika Šimková to be out of the hospital after Thanksgiving and before Christmas. He said Šimková plans on re-enrolling at UB in the spring.
  • Buffalo plays at Central Michigan on Saturday, October 30, 2021 at 4pm (ESPN3). Both teams have a 4–8 record and are fighting for a playoff spot.