With a split of two matches on Saturday, August 27, the UB Volleyball team earned second place in the Buffalo Invite tournament. Their record is now 2–1.
The Bulls played very well in some sets, running away from their opponents, but in other sets, they played very poorly and lost the set by double digits.
In the first match, Buffalo lost to tournament champion Xavier in five sets. (A Buffalo win would likely have given the Bulls the tournament championship). Buffalo had a chance to win the match in the fourth set, leading 2 sets to 1, and they took a 23–21 lead. However, the Bulls would not score again in that set, allowing Xavier to tie the match 2–2. And then the Bulls fell apart in the fifth set, unable to pass well, unable to run their offense in system, and Xavier jumped out to a 7–1 lead en route to a 15–5 set victory.
Buffalo won a close first set against Cleveland State, and then (again) fell apart in the second set, losing by 10. Buffalo then returned the favor, defeating the Vikings in the third set by 10. The fourth set was close, until at 22–22, Buffalo picked up three straight points (two on kills from junior right side Emma Gielas and one on a Cleveland State error) to win the set and win the match.
Sophomore outside hitter Katrin Trebichavská led the Bulls in both matches, with 15 kills against Xavier and 19 against Cleveland State. KT also picked up 6 aces against Cleveland State, and was named to the All-Tournament team. The 6 aces is a career high, and the most by a Bulls player since Dana Musil had 6 against Howard in 2010. (Monika Šimková twice had five aces in a match).
Senior middle blocker Abby Leigh picked up 10 kills in each match, and 4 blocks in each match and was also named to the All-Tournament team. In fact, Leigh also had 10 kills and 4 blocks against Alabama Birmingham on Friday night — can you say “consistency”? Leigh had 4 aces against Xavier, a career high in aces. Three of those aces were consecutive.
Serving, despite the career highs in aces, remains an issue for the Bulls as they picked up 13 service errors in each match. Serving aggressively, as the Bulls did during this tournament, is a high risk/high reward practice, and across the three tournament games, Buffalo had 16 aces but 40 errors.
Buffalo coach Scott Smith even went to an unusual rotation to get his strongest servers at the service line, as both middle blockers (Leigh and junior Stacia Gollogly) served regularly (normally one middle blocker serves, and the libero serves for the other middle blocker). Gollogly has never served regularly for the Bulls until this tournament, but in scrimmages and in spring volleyball served well. Against Xavier and Cleveland State, she consistently sent low line drive serves barely over the net, and caused problems for the opposing teams. Gollogly picked up her first career ace (and a new career high of 1 ace in a match).
- Buffalo next plays in a tournament at Lehigh University against Rider, the host team and Cleveland State. Only the game against Lehigh will have video streaming.
- Sophomore setter Mandy Leigh picked up 41 assists against Xavier and 47 against Cleveland State and had double digit digs in both games. But she struggled in the second set against Xavier, and as the Bulls trailed 19–11, for the first time in her UB career, Leigh was taken out of the game. Senior setter Emma Puzausky made her first appearance on the court in over a season and a half, and picked up an assist on her very first play (the Bulls would not score another kill in that set). Puzausky played well in an exhibition against Colgate. Leigh had 11 digs against Xavier and 18 against Cleveland State.
- Sophomore Maria Futey played defensive specialist for most of the tournament, but in the third set against Cleveland State, Smith moved her to outside hitter (a position she played a year ago). Up until the third set, Futey had 2 kills from the defensive specialist position, one of them a pipe set attack from the back row, but she picked up 9 kills at outside hitter in the final two sets, giving her a double-double with 11 kills and 11 digs.
- Junior libero Hayley Montoya had 18 digs against Cleveland State.
- Speaking of liberos — Buffalo’s Kelly Svoboda is the only UB player to ever win a MAC individual award, being named MAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, when she led the MAC (and was fifth in the nation) with 5.66 digs per set. She had a career high of 43 digs in one match. Svoboda, now Kelly Bertrams, returned to Alumni Arena as an assistant coach for Cleveland State.
- Xavier setter Logan Flaugh is the daughter of Audrey Flaugh, a former Ohio State All-American, and currently a volleyball commentator for the Big Ten Network.
- Repeating a personal note in case you missed it yesterday: this web site ubbullrun.com will shut down at the end of September. I intend to keep writing these volleyball (and women’s basketball) reports after that, if I can find a place to publish them. I will let you know once I figure out where that will be.