Bulls Defeat Akron To Reach MAC Quarterfinals For Second Straight Year
AKRON, OH – The University at Buffalo volleyball team swept Akron on Tuesday night in the first round of the 2010 Mid-American Conference Tournament, reaching the MAC Quarterfinals for the second straight season. UB took the contest 3-0 and will now face the second-seeded Ohio Bobcats Friday night in Toledo, OH.
The Bulls took the contest 27-25, 25-17, 25-23 as they hit .231 for the contest, opposed to Akron's .126. The win for the Bulls is their second straight over Akron at Rhodes Arena in the last five days. The win was also the 18th of the season for the Bulls, their most since the 1996 season.
The Zips took an early 12-7 lead in the first set, but the Bulls responded on a 6-0 run to take a 13-12 lead. Akron went on to regain a lead late in the first set, going up 23-20, just two points away from taking the set, but the Bulls made sure that would never happen. A kill from freshman Carissa McKenna and a service ace from Marisa Hornbaker pulled UB within one at 23-22. The Zips regained a two-point advantage at 24-22, but a kill from Kayla Govier and an Akron hitting error, tied the match at 24-24. The Zips would have another set point at 25-24, but UB tied things up on another Akron error, and after a bad set by Akron, UB went on to take the set 27-25 following a service ace from senior Lindsey Schlegel.
UB jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the second set before Akron would go on an 11-6 run to take a 13-12 lead in the set. However, the Bulls went on a 9-0 run to take a 21-13 lead in the set and went on to win the second 25-17.
The Bulls got out to a 12-6 lead in the third set following back-to-back hitting errors from Akron. The Zips went on to tie the set at 15-15 and things continued to remain tied at 18-18 when UB responded with back-to-back kills from Dana Musil and Abby Niekamp. Following an Akron point, Niekamp responded with two more kills to go up 22-19. Niekamp would again convert with another kill to give UB the 23-20 advantage, but three straight Akron points tied things up at 23-23. UB responded with a kill from Hornbaker to go up 24-23 and UB would go on to clinch the match following an Akron hitting error.
"I am proud of this team and our senior class," said head coach Todd Kress. "Back-to-back trips for this senior class is a great accomplishment as they continue to leave their legacy. We faced adversity late in both the first and third sets, but we found a way to pull through on the road and that speaks to the maturity of this team."
Niekamp led the way with 15 kills, while Hornbaker had eight kills and just one error on the night. Musil had six kills, while Kristin Bignell had five. Schlegel had four kills and a match-high 31 assists. As a team, UB finished with five service aces, one each from Musil, Schlegel, McKenna, Hornbaker and junior Heather Pyle.
Defensively, freshman Kelly Svoboda finished with 21 digs, while Schlegel finished with eight and Hornbaker added five. Bignell had a match-high seven blocks, including two solo blocks. Niekamp and Govier each had two block assists.
UB now heads to Toledo, OH where the rest of the 2010 Mid-American Conference Tournament will be played. The Bulls meet up Ohio, who won the MAC East during the regular season. UB and Ohio split its two meetings this season. The match is set to begin at 7:00 pm.