Bulls Fight Back To Pick Up First Ever Win Over Ball State
BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo volleyball team overcame a late four-point fifth set deficit on Saturday night to pick up its first ever win against Ball State, 3-2, at Alumni Arena. The win for UB snaps a four-match losing streak and improves its record to 14-8 and 2-4 in the MAC.
The Bulls took the contest 28-26, 20-25, 25-19, 19-25, 15-13 as UB was able to stake itself out to an early lead beginning in the first set. Down 16-15, the Bulls went on a 5-1 run to take a 21-17 advantage. The Cardinals would go on to tie the set up at 22-22, but UB again regained the advantage with two straight points. Again Ball St. would tie it and even had a set point of its own at 26-25, but three straight UB points coming on two kills from Marisa Hornbaker and a Kelly Svoboda ace gave UB the set.
The Bulls got out to an early lead in the second set at 10-5, but the Cardinals tied it up and eventually took the lead. UB would tie the set up 20-20, but Ball St. scored the final five points of the set. UB got itself off to another strong lead in the third set, taking a 7-3 advantage and never looking back. The Cardinals would cut it to within 16-14, but a 9-5 Buffalo run gave UB a 2-1 lead in the match.
Ball State came back swinging in the fourth set as it let for much of the set, leading by as many as seven, before finally winning 25-19 and setting up the pivotal fifth set. The Cardinals rode their momentum early as they raced out to a 5-1 advantage and continued to lead by four when the teams switched ends at 8-4. Two quick UB points cut the deficit to 8-6, but the Cardinals opened their lead back up to four at 11-7, causing the Bulls to call their second and final timeout. Three straight hitting errors from Ball State pulled UB to within 11-10. Following a Cardinal kill to go up 12-10, UB would tie the set up on two straight kills from senior Kayla Govier. The Cardinals regained the lead at 13-12 on a UB service error, but senior Kristin Bignell fired home a kill to tie things up before the Bulls would seal the victory after two more Cardinal attacking errors.
"Just a tremendous team win tonight that should really help our confidence after the last few matches," said head coach Todd Kress. "I was impressed with the way we fought back following the fourth set and after we were down 11-7 in the fifth set. Overall it was a really big win for the ladies."
The Bulls had five players with at least nine kills, led by 10 from Hornbaker and Bignell. Govier, Abby Niekamp and freshman Christine Fritsche each finished with nine kills. Senior Lindsey Schlegel led the UB offense with 44 assists.
Defensively, UB played a fantastic match, finishing with 89 digs and 15.0 total team blocks. Junior Heather Pyle tied her career high with 24 digs, while Svoboda finished with 17. Schlegel added 14 digs, while Dana Musil had 11 and Hornbaker completed the double-double with 10. Despite just playing the final three sets, Fritsche added seven digs to go along with her nine kills.
Bignell had a match-high 10 blocks, including three solos as Govier had nine total blocks, a new career high for her. Niekamp added five blocks, including two solos.
UB hits the road for its next two matches beginning next Friday at Western Michigan. The match in Kalamazoo, MI is set for 7:00 pm.