This week's Volleyball opponents are tougher tests for UB, and both are one the road. Still, the Bulls played some of their best volleyball of the season last weekend, and hopefully we'll see more in a pair of matches to start off October.
Miami (9-6, 1-1 MAC)
Friday, 2 October; 7:00 PM
All-time series: Miami leads, 23-9
Last Meeting: Miami, 3-1; 31 October 2014
2015 Common Opponents: The MAC (Kent 3-2, Ohio 1-3)
Live Stats: We've got a Gametracker page from Miami.
Redhawks Player to Watch: Junior MB Paige Hill
First Team All-MAC a year ago, Hill is Miami's leading attacker with 2.6 kills per set and a .315 hitting percentage. She's also their leading blocker with 50 in 57 sets. That's not quite Cassie Shado numbers, but it is plenty good on a team that has several strong supporting pieces.
The Redhawks also return MAC Second Teamer Jenny Ingle, who at 6'5" demands attention, and All-Freshman Olivia Rusek, who is Miami's best server. Last season the Bulls were night and day at home and on the road against Miami, beating them 3-0 in Alumni and falling 3-1 at Millett Hall even with 17 kills from Tahleia Bishop.
Miami has played a strong schedule so far and come out with nine wins, including one over then-#19 Michigan State. Only one loss has come against a team not receiving votes in the AVCA Coaches Poll. That's including last weekend's four-set loss to Ohio, but before that had won their last four matches. Plus they're 4-0 at home. If anything, they're not as scary as some of UB's other road opponenets.
Bowling Green (4-11, 0-2 MAC)
Saturday, 3 October; 5:00 PM
Bowling Green, OH
All-time series: Bowling Green leads, 25-6
Last Meeting: Bowling Green, 3-2; 1 November 2014
2015 Common Opponents: The entire MAC (Ohio 0-3, Kent 1-3)
Live Stats: SidearmStats
Falcons Player to Watch: Junior OH Jelena Sunjic
Like so many other Volleyball Players to Watch, Sunjic leads her team with 3.73 kills a set. It's memories of last year that led me to put her here, though. Injured for the first matchup between UB and Bowling Green, she returned for the second and hit .538 in a five-set Falcons win that seemed to put Bowling Green into the MAC Tournament and Buffalo out.
Like last weekend, UB's more winnable match comes second. Like Miami, UB last year beat the Falcons at home and lost on the road. Bowling Green's 4-11 schedule isn't all that good, and doesn't come against particularly difficult competition, but they do serve well, which could cause problems for UB, and I'll also be interested to see how they do against Akron in their first match of the weekend.
Around the MAC
Like Women's Soccer, after two games we've got three MAC programs 2-0 and three 0-2. Northern Illinois, Ball State, and Ohio are the expected top class, and the Bobcats are now getting a handful of Top 25 votes.
At the bottom there's Bowling Green, Toledo, and EMU at 0-2. I think this coming weekend will say a lot more about how the standings shake out and will also start to see some standouts emerge in individual stats. Northern Illinois and Ball State face off tonight in a MAC West showdown and on Saturday we've got a number of matchups that will move the middle of the pack into tiers. Expect Ohio to move to 4-0 easily as they face Kent State and EMU.