AKRON, OH – The University at Buffalo volleyball team dominated the fifth set on Thursday night, defeating Akron on the road, 3-2, at Rhodes Arena. The win improves UB's record to 17-14, its most wins since 1997, and 5-10 in the MAC. The five conference wins, tie their mark from last season.
The Bulls took the contest 17-25, 25-21, 19-25, 26-24, 15-5 as UB hit .194 for the contest opposed to .159 for the Zips. UB had to fight back all night, starting in the second set after a first set victory from Akron. UB jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the second set and held on for the 25-21 victory.
The Zips came back in the third as they took the set 25-19, but the Bulls again answered the call in the fourth. Akron got out to an early 6-2 lead in the fourth and continued to lead 11-6 when Buffalo used its second timeout of the set. The Bulls began to creep back into it, but still trailed 14-11, when a Lindsey Schlegel service ace would pull the Bulls within one at 16-15. The Zips rebuilt a three point lead at 20-17 when UB again pulled within one, this time on an ace from Dani Reinert. The Zips remained up one at 23-22 when the Bulls would respond with back-to-back kills to go up 24-23. The Zips tied the set up at 24-24, but two straight kills from Abby Niekamp gave the Bulls the set and sent things into the fifth.
Akron would go on to lead early in the fifth set 2-1, but that was all it would lead as UB took the set 15-5. The Bulls climbed out to a 10-4 lead in the fifth set with the final two points in the run coming on solo blocks from Niekamp. Following an Akron point, the Bulls went on to score the final five to clinch the match.
Niekamp led the way for the Bulls with 15 kills and just two errors as she hit .433. Niekamp also had four total blocks, including two solos. Senior Kayla Govier added 14 kills and freshman Dana Musil had a double-double with 12 kills and 15 digs. Kristin Bignell finished with eight kills, while Carissa McKenna and Christine Fritsche each had six. The setting duo of Reinert and Schlegel finished with 33 and 24 assists, respectively.
The Bulls served the ball well, finishing the night with six aces. Senior Marisa Hornbaker led the way with two, while Reinert, McKenna, Schlegel and Kelly Svoboda each had one. Svoboda tied her career-high with 25 digs, tying the total she set in a five-set win over Ohio just one week ago. In addition to Niekamp's four total blocks, Bignell, McKenna and Govier each added four total block assists. Musil added two as well.
The Bulls wrap up the regular season on Saturday as they face Toledo at 5:00 pm. UB is still fighting for its positioning in the upcoming Mid-American Conference Tournament.