BUFFALO, NY - It was a sweet homecoming for the University at Buffalo volleyball team as the Bulls took their home court for just the third time in over month Friday night and knocked off the defending Mid-American Conference Champions the Central Michigan Chippewas, 3-1. The Bulls, who began a stretch of six of the next eight match at home, are now 8-13 on the season and 2-7 in conference play. The victory was also UB's first over a West opponent since 2010 and its first over Central Michigan since 2005.
The Bulls took the match 25-23, 25-19, 26-28, 25-21 as they outhit the Chippewas, .247 to .172. It was arguably one of the best defensive efforts for Buffalo, who dug some big time balls and recorded 17.0 blocks on the night. Tied at 15-15 in the opening set, UB scored three straight points to take the lead, but CMU came back and tied it at 19-19. However, a pair of Liz Scott kills and an Akeila Lain kill gave Buffalo a 22-19 advantage. The Chippewas pulled back within 24-23, but freshman Megan Lipski sealed the set with a thunderous kill.
Buffalo dominated the second set as it stormed out to a 19-9 lead thanks to the setting of junior Dani Reinert, who was able to evenly distribute the ball to her teammates. UB continued to lead by 10 at 23-13 and held off a late CMU charge to take the set 25-19. The third set was quite the battle between the two teams as neither side held more than a two-point lead through out the set. The Bulls fought off four set points in the third set, but Central Michigan ultimately took it, 28-26.
However, UB fought back in the fourth set determined to get the victory on its home court. The Bulls got out to an 11-6 lead in the set and led by as many as six at 18-12. The Chippewas made a late run and pulled within 23-21, but a kill from junior Carissa McKenna and a bad set by the Chippewas gave Buffalo the set and the match.
"I am very proud of the effort the entire team put out there tonight," said head coach Todd Kress. "It was a rough stretch for us on the road, but we are thrilled to be back home and that energy showed on the court tonight."
The Bulls had four players in double figures in kills led by 14 from freshman Tahleia Bishop, who had just five errors on a career-high 47 total attempts. Scott added 13 kills and just one error, while McKenna finished with 12 kills and just two errors. Freshman Megan Lipski added 10 kills. Reinert had 46 assists and two kills against the Chippewas.
Defensively, UB got a breakout match from freshman Kayla Yingling who had 28 digs and a service ace, starting at libero for the first time in her career. Scott recorded her first career triple-double as she added 10 digs and a career-high 10 blocks, including one solo. Bishop added eight digs. Also leading the way in the blocking department for the Bulls was McKenna, who had eight blocks, including two solos and Lain, who finished with seven blocks.
The Bulls remain home tomorrow evening when they face Eastern Michigan at 7:30 pm. Please note the change in start time from the original schedule. Those attending tomorrow's football game against Pittsburgh can get in to tomorrow's match for free.