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Weekend Preview: Buffalo Volleyball to face New Hampshire, Navy, Syracuse

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UB Athletics

UB couldn't beat Canisius, and that makes me sad. Tessa Ooyama has apparently supplanted Niki Bozinoski at libero, but the back row is still inconsistent at best. Amber Hatchett is hurt, perhaps not badly, but enough to miss the Canisius match, and that also makes me sad.

Cassie Shado continues to flat-out produce, and UB is getting better at generating offense from Akeila Lain, Megan Lipski, and Valisha Watkins, but they're giving away too many points before the attackers even see the ball.

Navy (2-8, 0-0 AAC)

Saturday, 19 September; 7:00 PM 
Syracuse, NY

All-time series: Buffalo leads, 7-1
Last Meeting: Buffalo, 3-1; 3 September 2010
2015 Common Opponents: Akron (0-3), Canisius (3-1), Syracuse, New Hampshire
Streams: Looks like no.
Live Stats: Also no. Thanks Syracuse.

Rebels Player to Watch: Sophomore OH Olivia Kluger

Like so many of my choices in this section, Kluger does it all for the Midshipmen. None of her numbers are too scary, but she'll likely be the primary attacker and the most effective server.  .

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Navy has pretty much been outplayed by their opponents across the board. I'll hypothesize that the same restrictions that force the service academies into triple-option attacks in football may harm Navy on the volleyball court in the net that's missing. Were it not for UB's disappointing showing against Canisius, I'd feel real good about this game. Navy can't block, and doesn't hit for much better than UB does.

New Hampshire (6-6, 0-0 America East)

Sunday, 20 September; 12:30 PM 
Syracuse, NY

All-time series: New Hampshire leads, 1-0
Last Meeting: New Hampshire, 3-2; 7 September 2001
2015 Common Opponents: Syracuse, Navy, Stony Brook (x2)
Streams: Looks like no.
Live Stats: Unclear. Real first-class stuff from Syracuse.

Rebels Player to Watch: Junior S Keelin Severtson

Severtson's numbers aren't super impressive - she's averaging fewer assists per set than Buffalo's Marissa Prinzbach - but she's also a dangerous server with 21 aces on the year. .

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Unlike Navy, New Hampshire is an excellent blocking team, averaging more than ten a match. They're not the same caliber as Ole Miss and Southern Miss, who the Bulls took to five sets each last weekend, but they'll present much more of a problem than Navy. UB already needs to make every possession and attack count, and a strong blocking team presents another challenge beyond Buffalo's shaky back row, especially to younger hitters like Valisha Watkins.

Syracuse (6-2, 0-0 ACC)

Sunday, 20 September; 6:30 PM 
Syracuse, NY

All-time series: Syracuse leads, 19-3
Last Meeting: Buffalo, 3-0; 15 September 2012
2015 Common Opponents: New Hampshire, Navy
Streams: Syracuse does stream their own matches, and it looks like it might be free, too. 
Live Stats: Also available, but it's the lame SidearmStats, not GameTracker

Rebels Player to Watch: Senior OH Silvi Uattara

Syracuse like Buffalo uses a short bench, so UB will see a lot of Uattara, who's already got over 100 kills and is hitting .298. She'll top 1,000 total attacks this year, and Cassie Shado is going to have her work cut out for her as a blocker.

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I don't have the feeling that Syracuse is generally a good volleyball program, despite New York State producing tons of talent, but this year the Orange's 6-2 start may be even better than it looks, with the two losses each coming in four sets against ranked teams. They're probably the best team UB has played against Washington, even though two of last weekend's opponents each have only one loss. I'd be shocked to see Volleyball pull out a similar thrilling win as Women's Soccer.