Bulls Storm Back To Defeat Niagara, 3-1
BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo volleyball team overcame a slow start on Tuesday evening, defeating Niagara, 3-1, in their home opener at newly renovated Alumni Arena. The win evens Buffalo's record to 5-5 on the season.
The Bulls took the contest 16-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-16 as they hit .267 for the contest, opposed to Niagara's .198. After recording eight hitting errors in the first set alone, the Bulls had just eight combined in the final three sets.
After Niagara took the first set 25-16, the Purple Eagles again led in the second, holding a 20-18 advantage. However, the Bulls responded by taking six straight points and seven of the final eight to take the set, 25-21, evening things at 1-1 as the two teams headed into the break.
Niagara again took the lead in the third set, up by as many as three at 14-11, but the Bulls responded with four straight points, including one on an ace from freshman Alessandra Jovy-Heuser. The set was again tied at 21-21 when Jovy-Heuser added a kill and then recorded her second ace of the set to give UB the two-point lead. Niagara pulled within 24-23 in the set, but a Purple Eagle service error gave the Bulls the set.
The Bulls jumped out to an early lead in the fourth set as back-to-back service aces from Dana Musil gave UB a 7-3 advantage. The Bulls led by at least three points for the majority of the fourth set, taking its largest lead at nine on match point, sealing the win for Buffalo.
"I thought initially we came out flat tonight, but rebounded nicely for the win," said head coach Todd Kress. "It was nice to be back home and we had some great support from the crowd. We need to keep working to get better each and every day as we prepare for conference play."
The Bulls were led by 15 kills from Musil, who completed the double-double with 14 digs. The sophomore also added two aces and a solo block. Fellow sophomore Christine Fritsche had 10 kills and nine digs, while Carissa McKenna added nine kills. Senior Abby Niekamp finished the night with seven kills and just one error, while Jovy-Heuser finished with five kills and a career-best three service aces. Sophomore Dani Reinert led the UB offense with 39 assists, adding nine digs and two aces.
Kelly Svoboda led the way in digs as she finished with a season-high 23. She also added two assists and two aces on the night. The Bulls finished with four total blocks, led by two from Niekamp.
Niagara (5-7) had two players in double figures in kills, led by 13 from Hannah Hendrick. Sam Morgan had 18 digs from the Purple Eagles, while Nicole Bayer finished with 37 assists.
The Bulls remain home this weekend as they host the 2011 Blue and White Classic. UB will face Syracuse on Friday night at 7:00 pm and will then face Cornell on Saturday at 10:00 am and Dayton at 7:30 pm.