WEST POINT, NY – The University at Buffalo volleyball team split its two matches on Friday during the opening day of the West Point Challenge on the campus of Army. The Bulls lost to Hofstra 3-1 in the opener on the day and then bounced back with a 3-0 victory over Air Force. The Bulls are currently 10-3 on the season.
The Bulls stumbled in the opener as it fell to Hofstra, 25-18, 22-25, 25-22, 25-23. UB, who was leading the Mid-American Conference in opponent hitting percentage, allowed the Pride to hit .252. Outside of the first set, the match was extremely competitive with both teams making runs. Buffalo climbed to within 23-22 i the third set, but it was as close as the Bulls would get, falling 25-22. In the fourth and final set, the Bulls trailed through out, but was able to tied it up at 19-19. Hofstra would regain a three-point advantage at 24-21 and UB fought off two match points, before falling, 25-23.
The Bulls had three players in double figures in kills led by 13 kills from freshman Dana Musil. Senior Kristin Bignell had 11 kills and just two errors, while junior Abby Niekamp added 10 kills. Freshman Christine Fritsche added nine kills, while hitting .389 for the contest. Fritsche also led the team with nine digs. Bignell and senior Kayla Govier each finished with six total blocks. Senior Lindsey Schlegel had 33 assists, a kill and three digs against the Pride.
"We got beat in every way possible during that first match," said head coach Todd Kress. "They beat us to the net every time and they executed a lot better than we did in all facets of the game."
UB took the second match in straight sets, defeating Air Force, 25-23, 25-22, 25-22, The Bulls were led by a pair of freshmen in the kills department as Fritsche and Musil finished with 12 and 10 kills, respectively. The 12 kills by Fritsche tie her season high. The freshmen duo also combined for five of UB's eight service aces as Musil had three and Fritsche finished with two. Govier had eight kills in the match, while freshman Carissa McKenna added five. Schlegel finished with a match-high 36 assists, while also adding nine digs, two total blocks and a service ace.
Defensively, Svoboda led the way with 13 digs, while Bignell had a team-high five blocks, including a solo. McKenna added four blocks, while Govier added three.
"It was nice to see our team fight back and get a win in the second match against a good Air Force team, but we still were not nearly as sharp as I would have liked us to be," said Kress. "We have a lot of work to do before Sunday as we get ready for two very good teams in Army and Bryant."
UB continues play at the West Point Challenge on Sunday as it faces Army at 12:00 pm and Bryant at 5:00 pm.