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Buffalo Volleyball falls to Virginia in straight-set season opener

UB Athletics

Freshman Rachel Sanks led UB in kills, while fellow first-year Bull Scout McLerran did a little bit of everything Friday morning in Volleyball's season-opening 3-0 loss to Virginia in Charlottesville.

The Bulls fell 16-25, 21-25, 20-25, enjoying narrow leads and generally keeping the margin tight in the the second and third sets. Sanks' team-leading seven kills also came on 29 attacks, more than double any other Bull. Valisha Watkins appears from the box score to be the other outside hitter, although she did not tally more swings than middle blockers Amber Hatchett and Kristina Curcin who finished with nine combined kills but also seven combined attacking errors.

Megan Wernette appears to be her usual high-efficiency self from last year, tallying six kills on just eight swings and adding a pair of blocks. Fellow front-row player Cassie Shado is noticeable in her absence, playing in only a single set, finishing with a kill and two blocks. Sophomore Madison Clark also played in just one set.

McLerran, however, put together a strong statline, totaling 25 assists to go with four kills on six swings and five digs. Watkins and Sanks led the team with six digs apiece, and freshman Hannah Watson added five, as well.

It's hard for me to gauge back-row play from only a box score, but UB surrendered only three aces. That may not be a great result for other programs, but considering how last year went, it feels like an improvement. On the flip side, Buffalo serves were notably unproductive, as the Bulls only tallied a single ace, from Sanks, while handing the Cavaliers five points on service errors.

Hopefully Virginia's live stats will be working tomorrow for games against Northwestern and George Washington, and we can get a better picture of the flow of the game. We'll also be looking to see if Shado and Clark have the larger role we expected for them during the preseason.