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Preview of WNY Invite at Alumni Arena

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Sophomore Stacia Gollogly (10) and junior Abby Leigh (5) blocking against UConn
Paige Miller

The UB Volleyball team returns home to Alumni Arena this weekend, as part of the WNY Invite Tournament.

They will face Duquesne on Friday at 6pm; then they will face West Virginia on Saturday at 10 am, and finish on Saturday hosting Canisius at 4pm.

What to Look For

The Bulls have a record of 3–3, and as you might imagine, they have looked sharp at times and less than sharp at other times. Head Coach Scott Smith has been experimenting with different lineups (as most volleyball coaches are doing at this early point in the season). The Bulls pulled off a tremendous comeback in their last match against Troy, falling behind 2–0, but then two subs off the bench helped the Bulls come back and win the match 3–2.

Those two subs, sophomore right side Emma Gielas and sophomore right side Olivia DeBortoli, certainly made a case to get more playing time, and maybe even made a case to start in this tournament. Gielas had 12 kills and 6 blocks, while DeBortoli had 9 blocks, by far her career high, and the most by any MAC player this year. That earned DeBortoli the MAC East Defensive Player of the Week award. DeBortoli has only appeared in five matches during her time at UB, but has always been an excellent blocker, averaging a stellar 1.27 blocks per set during her career.

The Bulls also need to show some more consistency in serve receive and on offense, as these has been two areas where the Bulls have struggled at times so far this season.

The Opposition

Duquesne enters the tournament with a 3–3 record, one of their losses coming to MAC opponent Akron. Coach Steve Opperman is in his 24th season with the Dukes, and is their all-time leader in coaching victories.

West Virginia is 5–0, knocking off Big Ten opponent Michigan along the way. They are coached by Reed Sunahara, now in his 7th season. Sunahara was coach for Buffalo in 2014.

Canisius is 0–6, and has won only two sets all season. Head coach Shannon Thompson is in her second season at Canisius and the team posted a 9–4 mark in the spring season.