The UB Volleyball team improved its record to 5–2 on the season taking down cross-town rival Canisius by a score of 3–1 at Koessler Athletic Center on Tgursday night.
With regular setter Mandy Leigh not 100%, senior setter Emma Puzausky got her second career start. Puzausky had played well the previous weekend leading the Bulls to a 0.423 hitting percentage against Rider in the third set. But against Canisius, Buffalo’s passing broke down, and Puzausky didn’t have a lot of good passes to work with. It’s impossible to say how much of the problem was the passing and how much was the setting, but Buffalo hit 0.000 in the first set and lost to Canisius 25–19.
Bulls coach Scott Smith put Leigh into the lineup for the second set. Smith also inserted senior middle blocker Courtney Okwara into the lineup for the second set (Okwara’s first appearance of the season, after missing two weeks because of an injury), and Smith moved sophomore Maria Futey from defensive specialist to outside hitter. The changes all made a difference. Buffalo’s passing improved dramatically, and with Leigh at setter, the Bulls hit over 0.300 in the second set and took the set 25–19.
In particular, Futey broke open the second set with tough serving, including one ace, as the Bulls went on a 6–0 run to take a 12–5 lead. And Futey wasn’t done. In the third set, Futey served another 6–0 run, including one ace, to break that set open. This is becoming common for Futey, who had an even longer run against Rider the previous weekend to break open the first set of that match.
The Bulls hit over 0.400 in the third and fourth sets, and 0.285 for the match. Sophomore outside hitter Katrin Trebichavksá led the Bulls with 16 kills and a 0.500 hitting percentage. Okwara had 10 kills (in just 3 sets) and hit 0.533. Junior right side Emma Gielas also had 10 kills and hit 0.350.
Senior middle blocker Abby Leigh had 9 blocks and sister Mandy Leigh had 3 blocks. Futey and Trebichavská led the team with 8 digs each, and junior libero Hayley Montoya (who played for Canisius last year) had 7 digs. Mandy Leigh had 35 assists in three sets.
- Senior libero Jenna Sonnenberg was not in uniform. She did not play in last week’s games, but was in uniform.
- The Bulls had one of their better serving days, with 10 aces and 12 errors. Seven of the errors belong to Trebichavská, who has struggled with accuracy so far this year. KT did pick up 3 aces, Futey had 2 aces, and Abby Leigh tied her career high with 4 aces.
- Buffalo out-blocked Canisius 11–4.
- Buffalo continues in the WNY Invite tournament, with an 11am match against Youngstown State at Alumni Arena on Friday. The tournament concludes when Buffalo faces Bucknell at Alumni Arena at 5pm. Both matches are free, and will be streamed on YouTube.
- Some NCAA Volleyball news: a new women’s volleyball regular season attendance record was set last night, when 15,797 fans came out to CHI Health Center Arena in Omaha to watch #2 Nebraska and #17 Creighton. The old record was 14,022 when those same two teams faced each other in the same arena in 2018. Check out the photos on the NCAA Volleyball Instagram, especially that second photo. Wow!