Bulls Prevail In Five-Set Marathon With Akron
BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo volleyball team came back from a 2-1 deficit on Thursday night as the Bulls defeated Akron, 3-2, at Alumni Arena. In what was an even match throughout the night, the Bulls took the fifth and deciding set, 18-16, as they improve their record to 12-6 and 3-2 in the MAC. UB's MAC start is its best ever through the first five conference matches.
The Bulls took the contest 25-18, 24-26, 24-26, 25-21, 18-16 even though Akron narrowly outhit them. After cruising to a first-set victory, the Zips fought back in the second set, taking an early 5-2 lead. The Bulls then went on a run of their own and took a 12-9 lead. The Bulls were up 19-15 when the Zips came back to tie it at 22. The two teams exchanged points before Akron took two straight with the set tied at 24.
UB was the team that got off to the early lead in set three, taking an 8-2 advantage. The Zips cut it to 11-9 and took their first lead at 14-13. The two teams were tied at 20 when Akron scored three straight points. UB fought off two set points to get it tied at 24 when the Zips scored the final two points of the set.
The Bulls again came out strong in the fourth, scoring the first four points of the set. Akron got to within one at 13-12, but three straight UB points extended the lead. The Bulls were up just 21-20 when the Bulls went on to score four of the final five points of the set to tie the match at two.
The Bulls again came out firing in the final set as UB took eight of the first 12 points for an 8-4 lead. The Bulls were up 11-6 when five straight Akron points tied the contest up at 11. The Zips eventually took a 13-12 lead, which UB was able to combat by scoring two straight points, giving it a 14-13 lead and the first match point. The Zips went on to fight off three straight match points, tying the set at 16-16. The Bulls then responded with a Dani Silvers kill and a service ace from Kelsey Lueders sealing the match.
"Tonight's match was just another step in our maturation process," said head coach Todd Kress. "We are learning how to execute and how to play when we are facing adversity. We still have a long way to go, but this was a good step in the maturation process."
The Bulls were led by 16 kills from Silvers and 13 kills from Marisa Hornbaker, who had a career-high 54 attacks. Sophomore Abby Niekamp added eight kills, while Lueders and Kristin Bignell each had seven kills. Lueders added a career-high 11 total blocks, including four solos. Bignell had nine total blocks, while Niekamp added eight. As a team, UB recorded 20.5 total team blocks.
Defensively, Tori Beckman and Hornbaker each had a match-high 21 digs. The dig total for Hornbaker was a career-high and gave her a double-double on the night. Junior Lindsey Schlegel had three kills, 45 assists, seven digs, three blocks and a season-high five service aces.
The Bulls are back in action on Saturday night as they travel to Ball State to face the Cardinals. The match is set to begin at 7:00 pm.