UB Volleyball, one night after defeating Eastern Michigan 3–2, lost to Eastern in five sets (17–25, 29–27, 25–20, 12–25, 11–15). The Bulls came into the week with just one set win, and zero match wins, so a week where they won 5 sets and one match represents noticeable improvement. The Bulls are now 1–11.
As in the first match, the Bulls were led on offense by freshman outside hitter Milla Malik and freshman right side Emma Gielas. Malik tied her career high (set the previous night) with 19 kills, and added 15 digs, while Gielas had 17 kills and 9 digs. Senior middle blocker Lexi Nordmann (pictured above) had 11 kills (the box score says 10, we’ll discuss that later) and 3 block assists to tie for the team high in blocking. Junior setter Kyndal Bacon had 48 assists and 3 block assists and 14 digs. Sophomore libero Jenna Sonnenberg had 16 digs.
Still, the Bulls struggled in some key areas, in particular serving, where they committed 13 errors and registered 7 aces. Six of the errors came from Malik, who also had trouble serving in the previous night with 5 errors. (Bacon and junior outside hitter Monika Šimkova each had two of the aces.) But Šimkova really struggled attacking, picking up just 3 kills (the box score says 2) on 21 swings. It should be noted that outside hitter is not Šimkova’s natural position.
Buffalo lost the first set to Eastern and then survived two set points in the second set, finally winning the second set 29–27, getting the win on a kill from Malik followed by a setting error by EMU. Buffalo led almost the entire third set, finishing with a 25–20 win, using balanced scoring, 5 kills from Gielas and 4 each from Malik and Nordmann.
EMU demolished Buffalo in the fourth set as the Bulls didn’t pass well and wound up hitting 0.026. This set up a fifth set for the second night in a row. The set was tied at 9, when EMU went on a 4–0 run, scoring twice on blocks and twice on kills, to put Buffalo way behind, and the Bulls never recovered.
- The box score lists Sonnenberg as having two kills. It is extremely rare for a libero to get even one kill, and so two in one match ought to be memorable. As I didn’t remember either kill, I went to watch the video, and Sonnenberg’s first “kill” was actually a kill by Nordmann; Sonnenberg’s second “kill” was actually a kill by Šimkova.
- Junior defensive specialist Paige Beck had 8 digs.
- Buffalo had 5 blocks, while EMU had 11. EMU had 84 digs while Buffalo had 70.
- Bacon was extremely aggressive on offense again, with 13 attacks, scoring on 3. Its very rare to see a setter with 13 attacks in a match. Bacon truly filled up the box score in this match.
- Buffalo next plays at Western Michigan on Thursday, March 4 at 7pm and then Friday, March 5 at 1pm. No live streaming has been announced.