There were few surprises in Volleyball's season-opening match at #1 Penn State this evening, though the Bulls were able to put together stretches of points against the Nittany Lions in the 25-18, 25-12, 25-16 three-set loss.
The first match of the Blair Lipsitz era started with a mostly familiar lineupe: returners Amber Hatchett, Megan Lipski, Marissa Prinzbach, Akeila Lain, Cassie Shado, and Niki Bozinoski were joined by freshman Valisha Watkins in the starting lineup.
UB played the Nittany Lions even for the first halves of both the first and third sets, matching the hosts at 13-13 in the first and playing close to 13-12 in the third, though for the most part UB built their points on Penn State errors. Live stats weren't working and I only had audio, but in the first set the Nittany Lions hit .250 to UB's .000, and I believe by the end of the match Buffalo was in the negatives, while Penn State finished at .303.
Still, the gritty intangibles count for something, and Bulls fans should be generally pleased with that fight shown by the Bulls. Again, I'm working solely off the audio, but other than general service reception issues, most of UB's struggles came right at the net against a bigger and more skilled Penn State team.
I believe Akeila Lain led the Bulls with eight kills, but I will update with more stats once the boxscore is available.
Update: Lain did indeed lead the Bulls with eight kills, while Cassie Shado added seven. Shado hit .267, far and away the best result on the team, which saw Valisha Watkins, Akeila Lain, and Raven Jordan all hit in the negatives, as did UB as a team.
Niki Bozinoski led the defense with 10 digs, though also committed three reception errors, and UB as a team collected only three blocks to Penn State's 12. Marissa Prinzbach was the lone setter throughout and finished with 21 assists.
UB continues their play at the Penn State Classic tomorrow with matches against Villanova and Stony Brook. The Wildcats won today's match between the two in four sets.