The UB Volleyball team lost two matches at Toledo over the weekend, the first one by a score of 3–2 and the second one by a score of 3–1. Buffalo is now 3–16 on the season.
In the first match, the Bulls dropped the first two very close sets (25–23 and 25–22) and were trailing 22–17 in the third set. Not a good position to be in. Then a kill by junior outside hitter Monika Šimkova (pictured above) cut the lead to four. Sophomore outside hitter Abby Leigh then served back-to-back aces, and after two more tough serves by Leigh that led to poor Toledo attacks and UB points, the Bulls had tied the third set. Still, Toledo would fight back and obtain two match points, only to see Buffalo tie the score. The set ended with Buffalo 27–25 scoring the last three points. The Bulls would win the fourth set 25–23, but the fifth set was anti-climactic as Buffalo fell apart and lost 15–7.
The Bulls were led by senior middle blocker Lexi Nordmann with a team high 17 kills and 6 blocks. Freshman outside hitter Milla Malik had 16 kills and freshman right side Emma Gielas had 14 kills. Šimkova had 5 aces (tying her career high), sophomore libero Jenna Sonnenberg had 23 digs and 7 assists, and junior setter Kyndal Bacon had 44 assists.
Buffalo started the second match just as poorly as they finished the first match, losing the first set 25–10. In the second set, Buffalo trailed 20–14, when a kill from Nordmann began a UB rally. Then Leigh stepped to the service line again, served an ace and two other tough serves, both eventually resulting in kills by Šimkova, and the Toledo lead was down to 2. After a Toledo kill, another kill from Šimkova started the final UB run, in which they scored the final seven points behind very tough serving from Šimkova, to take the set 25–21, the final point coming on an ace from Šimkova. The Bulls would lose two more close sets (27–25 and 25–22) to give Toledo the match.
Malik led the Bulls with a career high 23 kills, and hit 0.400. Šimkova had 13 kills and 13 digs. Bacon had 48 assists, while Sonnenberg led the team with 16 digs. Sophomore middle blocker Courtney Okwara led the team with 4 blocks.
- Across the two matches, one highlight of note for the Bulls was the consistent strong serving by Šimkova and Leigh. It should be noted that Leigh is adapting to a new position (defensive specialist). Also of note was the outstanding play at the libero position by Sonnenberg, who was flying all over the court to make plays.
- Buffalo next plays at Akron on Tuesday, March 23 at 7pm (ESPN+) before finishing the season at home next weekend against undefeated Bowling Green (March 26 at 6pm and March 27 at 2pm, both matches on ESPN+)