Bulls Snap Skid With Five Set Win Over Akron
BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo volleyball team snapped a six-match losing streak with a thrilling 3-2 win over Akron on Thursday night at Alumni Arena. The Bulls got a total team effort, with four players in double figures in kills. The win also improves UB to 10-15 on the year and 3-8 in MAC play. The 10 wins mark the third straight year that Buffalo has reached double figures in win, a first since 1997-99.
The Bulls took the contest 22-25, 25-20, 25-23, 23-25, 15-13 as they outhit Akron, .217 to .176. After dropping the first set, the Bulls were determined to get back in the second set, hitting a match-best .375. The Bulls trailed 17-15 in the set when senior Abby Niekamp served the Bulls to six straight points as part of a 7-0 run, giving UB a 22-17 lead. The Bulls would go on to take the set, 25-20.
The Zips stormed out to a 5-1 lead in the third set, forcing UB into an early timeout. The Bulls would continue to trail by four at 18-14 before four straight Buffalo points tied it up. Akron again took the lead with four points of its own, leading at 22-18. The Zips continued to lead at 23-20, but a 5-0 UB run gave it the set, 25-23.
Buffalo led for most of the fourth set, leading by as many as 18-15, forcing an Akron timeout. That timeout, fueled a 7-0 Zips rally giving them a 22-18 lead. Akron continued to lead 24-19 when the Bulls tried to make a run, rattling off four straight points to pull within 24-23. However, a blocking error on the Bulls gave Akron the set, forcing a fifth.
The Zips took the early lead in the fifth set, going up 4-1, but three straight UB points tied it up. With the set tied at 9-9, the Bulls used an Alessandra Jovy-Heuser kill and an Akron attack error to take an 11-9 lead. The Zips pulled within one on four separate occasions, but an attack error by the Zips on match point gave the Bulls the 15-13 win.
"Any win in conference is big," said head coach Todd Kress. "With the way the tournament is this year, every team is battling to be one of those eight going to postseason play. We knew tonight was one of those must wins if we wanted to keep out postseason hopes alive."
The Bulls were led offensively by 16 kills from freshman Liz Scott, who had just two errors on 29 swings. Jovy-Heuser had a career night, recording 15 kills and just one error on 19 swings for a .737 hitting percentage. She also did it defensively, with a career-best nine blocks, including three solos.
Adding to the double-figure in kills total was Niekamp, who had 10 kills on 24 swings. Sophomore Dana Musil notched the double-double with 12 kills and 16 digs.
Sophomore Dani Reinert ran the offense with a match-high 51 assists as she also added 12 digs and three service aces, tying her for team high honors with fellow classmate Kelly Svoboda. Svoboda led the way defensively with a match-high 23 digs. Scott also completed the double-double with 10 digs. Niekamp and freshman Sable Staller had three total blocks, while Scott and Reinert had two.
"This was also a big win for us because we had so many people involved tonight. We had four players in double figures in kills, [Kelly] Svoboda had 23 digs and as a team we out dug them by 13," Kress added.
The Bulls will hit the road for a single match on Saturday night at Ball State. Match time is scheduled for 7:00 pm.