Volleyball Picks Up First Win Over Ohio Since 1999 In Five-Set Thriller
BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo volleyball team began senior weekend on the right foot Friday night, picking up just its second ever win over defending MAC Champion, Ohio, and its first since 1999. UB was able to overcome an early fifth-set deficit to take the match 3-2. The win equals UB's win total from last season as it is now 16-13 on the year and 4-9 in MAC play.
UB took the match 20-25, 25-15, 26-24, 20-25, 15-12 as it hit .213 for the match, opposed to .188 for the Bobcats. The Bulls constantly crawled back in the match after dropping the first set 25-20. UB had its most dominant performance in the second set, jumping out to an early 7-3 lead and never looking back. UB extended its lead to 10 at 16-6 and eventually 12 at 21-9. The Bobcats got it back to within nine at 24-15, but a kill from Abby Niekamp tied things up in the match.
Ohio jumped out to a quick 7-3 lead in the third set, but the Bulls responded with an 8-1 run to take an 11-8 lead in the set. The Bulls ran their lead to as much as 21-13 before the Bobcats began to make a comeback, tying things at 23-23. UB had its first set point at 24-23, but the Bobcats tied things up at 24-24. Following an Ohio hitting error, UB clinched the set on a kill from senior Kristin Bignell.
The Bobcats answered back with a fourth set win to tie the match up and send things into a fifth set. Early on it looked like UB's dream of an upset would not happen as Ohio began the fifth set on a 7-3 run. The Bobcats led 8-4 as the two teams changed sides. The Bulls responded with three straight points to pull within 8-7. Ohio moved back to a three-point lead, going up 10-7, but UB again chipped away with another two points, to pull within 10-9. An Ohio point gave it an 11-9 advantage, but a kill from senior Marisa Hornbaker and an Ohio error tied things up for the first time in the set at 11-11. The Bobcats went back up in the set 12-11, but that turned out to be their final point of the night. A kill from senior Kayla Govier tied things up at 12-12 and an Ohio attack error gave UB a 13-12 lead as Ohio called its second timeout of the set. Senior Lindsey Schlegel came out of the timeout and pulled the Bulls to within one point of victory with a service ace before Niekamp fired home the match-clinching kill.
"It was a great team win tonight to be able defeat a great team like Ohio," said head coach Todd Kress. "We stuck with our game plan and fought through some adversity, but we fought for five sets and this win shows that we can do some damage here towards the end of the season."
Niekamp led the way with a career-high 15 kills, hitting .370 for the match. Govier was just as solid as she finished with 14 kills and just three errors on 34 total attacks. Hornbaker had nine kills, while freshman Christine Fritsche added seven. Freshman Carissa McKenna tied her career-high with six kills, recording no errors on nine total attempts. Freshman Dani Reinert had 22 assists, while Schlegel added 21. UB had seven service aces as a team, two coming from Fritsche , Reinert and freshman Dana Musil. Schlegel added her one in the fifth set.
Defensively freshman Kelly Svoboda finished with a career-high 25 digs, while Fritsche added 14. Musil had eight and Govier added six. Bignell had four blocks assists, while Govier added three blocks, including a solo. Hornbaker, McKenna and Niekamp each added two block assists.
The Bulls return home for their final regular season match at Alumni Arena tomorrow night as they host Kent State. UB will honor its four seniors prior to the 5:00 pm start.