Given the opponent and the lopsided first two sets, Volleyball's performance in the third and fourth sets of tonight's 3-1 loss to Western Michigan may be among the most encouraging of the season. WMU took the first two set 25-16 and 25-14, but UB came out of the break, erased a 17-14 deficit, won the third 25-20, and got to set point in the fourth at 24-23.
But Buffalo couldn't get a clean dig on Western's next attack and Cassie Shado's swing at 24-24 landed wide - just wide - and WMU took control before winning 27-25.
UB benefited from an offensive adjustment out of the break, hitting for 31 kills in the final two sets after just 17 in the first two. The defense was stiffest in the third set, holding the defending MAC champion to .152 hitting, and though the Broncos bounced back in the fourth, UB still could have forced a fifth set if not for ten attacking errors.
The Bulls also hurt themselves with their typical seven serve receipt errors, though four players had double-digit digs (led by Megan Lipski's 26) and I felt the defense generally looked well-positioned. Madison Clark was strong in her second straight game replacing the injured Marissa Prinzbach, finishing with 44 assists, and Raven Jordan had a season-high six kills as Valisha Watkins played in only one set. Lipski and Akeila Lain led UB with 12 kills apiece, while Cassie Shado and Megan Wernette each added eight with only three errors between them.
Buffalo remains at home tomorrow for a match against Northern Illinois, who like Western Michigan are atop the MAC West.