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Two More Spring Exhibition Wins for UB Volleyball

UB Volleyball at Daemen
Mark DeBortoli

The UB Volleyball team picked up two more exhibition wins yesterday at Daemen College, defeating Canisius 3–0 in the first match and then defeating the host team 2–1 in the second match.

The Bulls were led by senior middle blocker Courtney Okwara, who put on a blocking clinic over the two matches. She also put on an attacking clinic. To put things in theatrical parlance, Okwara stole the show.

Okwara also picked up the Play of the Two Matches™. Against Canisius, a pass went sideways and was headed out-of-bounds, but Okwara chased it down, and then with her back to the court, she managed to bump the ball over the net and between the antennas, to keep the point alive. I would imagine, if Okwara had to make that play 10 times, only once would the ball remain in play. To cap the play off, Okwara ended the play with a solo block.

Daemen is an interesting story. In the fall, Daemen advanced to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight match. Their coach then stepped down to take an administrative position, and they hired the graduate assistant Eli Irizarry Pares to be the new head coach.

And it looks like Daemen picked up right where they left off. Daemen and Buffalo, battling for bragging rights among collegiate volleyball teams in Amherst, NY, put on quite a show of high quality and spirited volleyball. Daemen took the first set 29–27, after the Bulls had come back from 24–22 deficit to take a 25–24 lead. The second set was just as close, with Okwara dominating, and the Bulls winning 26–24. Buffalo took the third set as well, this time by 5.

Okwara had a lot of help. Sophomore setter Mandy Leigh ran the offense well, and also picked up a lot of kills on her own. Junior right side Emma Gielas continued to score often, and senior libero Jenna Sonnenberg flew all over the court to dig balls and served well.