The UB Volleyball team ended its season over the weekend with a pair of losses, each by 3–0 scores, to Bowling Green, the team seeded #1 into the upcoming MAC Tournament. Buffalo finishes the season at 4–18.
What did Bowling Green do so well? Well, they out-hit the Bulls, out-blocked the Bulls, out-served the Bulls, and out-dug the Bulls. In other words, pretty much everything.
In the first match, on Friday night, the Falcons hit 0.469, the highest hitting percentage of any team in the MAC this season. The Bulls wanted to serve aggressively, but generally did not succeed in taking the Falcons out of their regular offense. The Falcons made just 7 attacking errors in the match, while the Bulls hit 0.232, a respectable number, but about half of what the Falcons did. The Bulls lost 25–17, 25–15 and 25–19. Buffalo freshman outside hitter Milla Malik led the team with 10 kills (and had just 2 errors), while senior middle blocker Lexi Nordmann picked up 7 kills.
In the second match, it was more Bowling Green dominance, taking the first two sets without being pushed by UB, 25–16 and 25–7. The third set started out similarly, with BG taking a 13–4 lead, but then the Bulls finally made a strong run.
Buffalo went on a 10–2 run, the last five points of that run served by junior outside hitter Monika Šimkova and included three kills from sophomore Abby Leigh. That last point came on an attack from junior setter Kyndal Bacon. On the next play, it looked as if another attack from Bacon tied the score at 15–15, but Bowling Green challenged that a UB player had touched the net. After a somewhat mysterious review, in which the ESPN broadcast showed Bacon clearly didn’t touch the net, the challenge was upheld. (It turns out the net-touch violation was by Leigh earlier in the play, not the attack from Bacon which ESPN showed several times).
Still, the Bulls would actually take the lead in the set at 21–20 after two kills from freshman right side Emma Gielas and a BG attack error. The set would be tied at 24 all, but then a Bowling Green kill and a Buffalo ball-handling error ended the match.
Malik and Gielas led the team with 9 kills each, and Nordmann had 7.
- Senior night for the Bulls: Nordmann, the only senior, was honored. She played very well in her two years at Buffalo after transferring from SMU. She started almost every match (when she wasn’t injured) over the two years, and rarely was subbed out. She averaged 0.91 blocks per set as a junior and 0.82 blocks per set as a senior, both good for top 10 in the MAC.
- Sophomore libero Jenna Sonnenberg led the Bulls in digs in each of the two matches with 10 in the first match and 14 in the second match.
- Bacon had 26 assists in the first match and 24 in the second match.
- Buffalo attempted many back-row attacks in these two matches, something that had been a rarity the last two years for the Bulls. By my count, Leigh tried two back row attacks but didn’t score, and Malik tried eight resulting in two back-row kills.
- The only announced addition to the roster for next year is setter Amanda Leigh, sister of Abby Leigh.
- I would also like to add that except for the error mentioned above, the ESPN videography from Alumni Arena has generally been very strong, among the best in the MAC. The view from directly above the court (from the scoreboard) is something you don’t see from other stadiums, and is very helpful in volleyball at times. I complained earlier in the season about no replays on one broadcast at some other MAC school, but the ESPN coverage at Alumni shows a lot of replays.