Bulls Win Five-Set Thriller At Bowling Green
BOWLING GREEN, OH - Behind a career-high 20 kills from sophomore Dana Musil, the University at Buffalo volleyball team handed Bowling Green just its second loss of the season, with a 3-2 victory against the Falcons. For the Bulls, it was their first ever match played in the new Stroh Center at Bowling Green, and improves their record to 9-9 on the year and 2-2 in conference play.
The Bulls took the match 19-25, 25-23, 29-31, 25-20, 15-10 and are now a perfect 4-0 in five set matches this season. As a whole, the contest couldn't have been any tighter with the Falcons narrowly outhitting Buffalo, .310 to .289. The teams both had 60 digs, but UB was able to outblock Bowling Green, 11 to 4, while UB also held an advantage in service aces.
The Bulls had their worst set in the first, as Bowling Green took advantage of Buffalo hitting just .032 for the set. The Bulls had eight hitting errors in the opening set, but would go on to hit just 13 more over the final four sets combined.
The Falcons moved out to an early lead in the second set at 12-7, but a quick 8-0 run by the Bulls put them up 15-12. The final two points in the run came on back-to-back kills from Carissa McKenna. The Bulls would regain a six-point lead at 24-18, but the Falcons scored five straight points to pull within 24-23. Musil, like she did all afternoon, recorded a big kill to close out the set.
The Bulls got out to an early 9-3 lead in the third set, leading by as many as nine at 17-8. However, Bowling Green would go on a 12-3 run to tie things up at 20-20. Things remained tied at 22-22 when the Bulls used an Abby Niekamp kill and a Dani Reinert ace to take a 24-22 lead. The Falcons responded with three straight points to go up 25-24 as the Bulls had to fight off four set points, tying things up at 28-28. UB then took the lead at 29-28, but the Falcons scored three straight points to take the third set, 31-29.
The fourth set began with neither team taking much of an advantage early on. With the set tied at 13-13, the Bulls scored three straight points for the 16-13 lead. UB would move its lead up to six at 22-16, finally taking the set by a score of 25-20 to force a fifth and deciding set.
The Bulls scored the first two points in the fifth set before the Falcons responded with two points of their own. Neither team would hold more than a one-point lead as things remained tied at 8-8. From there, the Bulls used two Niekamp kills and a BG attack error to take an 11-8 lead in the set. The Bulls remained up by three at 13-10 before BG responded with two points to pull within 13-12. The Bulls got another kill from Musil to regain the two-point advantage, but the Falcons again answered, pulling within 14-13. UB was able to answer right back as freshman Alessandra Jovy-Heuser notched the match-clinching kill to give the Bulls a 15-13 win in the set.
"It was a great team win today," said head coach Todd Kress. "I am very proud of what we were able to do after a very tough loss in the third set. To bounce back on the road and win the fourth and fifth shows a lot of heart and character. We have a lot of respect for Bowling Green, and I thought it showed a lot about our team that we were able to match their intensity on the road."
The Bulls were led by Musil's career-best 20 kills as she became the first UB player to have 20 kills in a match since the 2009 season. Niekamp added 17 kills, hitting .378 for the match. McKenna and Jovy-Heuser each added 10 kills as McKenna had an extremely efficient match, recording just two errors on 14 total swings.
Reinert finished just one off her career-high with 57 assists, adding a match-high three services aces. Jovy-Heuser and fellow freshman Kayla Nagle each added two aces, while Liz Scott and Kelly Svoboda each had one.
Svoboda led the way defensively with 19 digs, while Musil added 14 to complete the double-double. Scott had nine digs, while Reinert added eight. The Bulls had 11 total team blocks, led by six total blocks from McKenna. Jovy-Heuser had four blocks, while Scott added three.
The Bulls will continue MAC play next weekend as they return home for a pair of matches. The Bulls will face Kent State on Friday night at 7:00 pm before hosting Ohio on Saturday.