The key to beating Miami, or at least one of them, is stopping Paige Hill and Jenny Ingle. UB couldn't do that tonight in a three-set sweep at the hands of the RedHawks, losing 19-25, 22-25, 10-25
Through two sets, the RedHawks built a commanding lead on the strength of 18 combined kills on 22 swings from Ingle and Hill, and the duo finished with 25 in the sweep. Time and time again, setters Miami Mackenzie Zielinski and Krista Brakauskas or mishit Buffalo passes got the ball to Ingle and Hill in the middle, where it's harder to limit a hitter's options, and the two dominated.
UB looked stronger in stretches than in their first loss to Miami but simply couldn't contend defensively. The Bulls hit .143, which is low, but Miami's .347 is a bigger concern. Megan Lipski led the Bulls on her senior night with nine kills to two errors, but needed 34 swings to get there. Valisha Watkins, Akeila Lain, Megan Wernette, and Cassie Shado combined for 24 kills but also 16 errors.
Madison Clark contributed 28 assists at setter, while Lipski, and Tessa Ooyama each had double-digit digs. Short of a closer second set and late run to get within 24-22, the Bulls were well outplayed throughout.
Results from around the conference were better for the Bulls, in fact as positive as they could be. Ohio swept Central Michigan to keep UB ahead of the Chippewas (by tiebreaker) for 7th, and as I write this Kent State is leading 6-3 in the fourth set over EMU up 2-1 in the match. An EMU loss would clinch a berth in the MAC Tournament for UB.
Buffalo hits the road for their final two matches, playing at Ohio and Kent State next weekend. Should they pull out a seventh MAC win, it would be a program high since joining the conference.