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Volleyball wraps up Penn State Classic Saturday with Villanova, Stony Brook

UB Athletics

After last night's sweep at the hands of #1 and defending national champion Penn State, UB Volleyball had another pair of matches in its opening weekend today. They won't close out the weekend until this evening with a 7:00 match against Stony Brook, but did play Villanova this morning and were once again swept, 25-18, 25-15, 25-19.

The starting lineup was largely the same as the Friday, though Raven Jordan played instead of Valisha Watkins. Jordan had played just the third set against Penn State, and this morning played in only the first, getting only five swings. Watkins saw time in all three sets and took more attacks than all Bulls but Megan Lipski and Akeila Lain.

The stats look pretty similar to yesterday's match, as only three Bulls maintained a positive hitting percentage. None earned more than five kills, though the group did amass 11 blocks, eight more than their three against Penn State.

Though the final scores don't look too different from Friday, UB had stretches where they were able to string points together. The Bulls were never really closer than four points in the first set, but took an early 8-5 lead in the second before six attack errors contributed to a 12-1 run from Villanova. The third set was a much closer battle; UB trailed 20-18 before giving up a late run and the match.

Defensively, UB did all right, holding Villanova to a .170 hitting percentage and putting together 11 blocks, but could not find consistency in attack, once again committing more attack errors than kills. Cassie Shado (4 kills, 6 blocks, .083%) and Amber Hatchett (5 kills, 4 blocks, .143%) were the standouts for Buffalo.

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UB also dropped its final game of the classic against Stony Brook, though offensively it was UB's best performance of the weekend and the Bulls took their first set of the season. Unfortunately, UB committed 9 errors in service reception and 21 in attack, handing Stony Brook more than a set's worth of free points.

A 14-4 run midway through the first set doomed the Bulls, who allowed the Seawolves to hit well over .400 in the frame. A similar run and .310 hitting from UB in the second set helped Buffalo even the match as both Shado and Watkins tallied four kills.

UB was once again rolling for much of the third set, holding a late lead at 22-20, but gave up five straight points to drop the set. Stony Brook continued their momentum to build a 9-1 lead out of the gate in the fourth, and UB never got within eight points in the deciding set.

Coach Blair Lipsitz once again used a short rotation in the match, as only Tessa Ooyama subbed in from the starting six and libero Niki Bozinoski. Shado once again brought an all-around game, contributing eight blocks and nine kills to only three errors. Valisha Watkins led the offense with 10 kills, but committed eight errors in attack to dampen her effectiveness.

UB returns to the court next weekend in the Pacific Northwest for a pair of matches against Washington and Murray State in Seattle.