The UB Volleyball team defeated Rider 3-0 in the first game of the Leigh Steel Tournament, and then lost to Lehigh 3-1. Buffalo is now 3-2 for the season and will play one more game in the tournament on Saturday, September 3. All four teams in the tournament have 1-1 tournament records.
The Bulls totally dominated Rider, hitting 0.393 as a team while holding Rider to just 0.059. Buffalo hit 0.367 or better in each set, and 0.423 in the third set.
What made that third set so special was that the offense was run by backup setter Emma Puzausky, who put in her best work of her UB career. Puzausky, now a senior, almost never has had the chance to play an entire set, and did not appear on the court as a junior and also did not play the last half of her freshman and sophomore seasons. Against Rider, she excelled at all of the tasks you want a setter to perform — setting (of course), but also blocking (she had 2 blocks), attacking (she had 1 kill, a very nicely done setter dump, catching the defense asleep), and two digs.
Junior right side Emma Gielas led the team with 11 kills, while fifth year outside hitter Cali Assaley had 8 kills and sophomore outside hitter Maria Futey also had 8. Junior middle blocker Stacia Gollogly had 6 blocks and senior middle blocker Abby Leigh had 4 blocks.
The Bulls took the first set against Lehigh 28-26. Buffalo led 24-21, only to see Lehigh run off the next four points to give the Mountain Hawks a set point opportunity, as Buffalo made three straight attack errors (two of them on Lehigh blocks). With Lehigh leading 26-25, Buffalo then scored the next three points on a block from Gielas and Gollogly, and then two consecutive kills by Abby Leigh.
The ferocious blocking of Lehigh would be a thorn in the Bulls side all match long, as the Mountain Hawks picked up 19 blocks in the match, compared to just 9 for the Bulls. It was a big reason why Buffalo only hit 0.110 for the match, and why they lost two deuce sets. After Buffalo lost 25-16 in the second set, they dropped the third set 32-30 and the fourth set 25-23. In that marathon third set, Buffalo scored five straight points to take a 24-22 lead, but despite having four set point opportunities in that set, they wound up dropping the set.
Abby Leigh set a career high with 21 kills (breaking her previous high of 16), and just 2 attack errors, for a hitting percentage of 0.500. None of the other Bulls attackers could hit for a strong hitting percentage. Leigh also had 5 blocks.
Sophomore outside hitter Katrin Trebichavská had 12 kills (playing just 3 sets). No other Buffalo attacker hit double digit kills. Sophomore setter Mandy Leigh had 43 assists and 9 digs. Junior libero Hayley Montoya had 15 digs, sophomore defensive specialist Julianna Lopez had 14 digs (she made her first appearance of the season against Rider earlier), and Futey and Assaley had 9 digs.
- Intentional kill for the libero: something you rarely see — against Rider, Montoya saw that the back right corner of the Rider defense was unoccupied. Montoya then set the ball over the net to the Rider right back corner, and the ball landed untouched.
- Lineup changes for the Bulls: again Buffalo coach Scott Smith moved players around to find a lineup that would work. Against Lehigh, Buffalo used middle blocker Olivia DeBortoli for the first time all season, and Gollogly moved to right side in the final set to replace Geilas, who struggled. Even with those changes, the best Buffalo could do against Lehigh was hit 0.190 in that final set.