CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – The 2016 University at Buffalo volleyball program will begin its 2016 season this weekend as it heads to the Fairfield Inn & Suites Cavalier Classic, hosted by the University of Virginia. The Bulls begin action tomorrow against the host Cavaliers at 11:00am.
The Bulls begin the season with a lot of fresh faces as head coach Blair Brown Lipsitz welcomes in eight freshmen. The Bulls are led by fifth-year senior Amber Hatchett, who returns to the team after missing last season due to a knee injury, and junior Cassie Shado, who was named to the Preseason All-MAC East Division team. UB also brings back sophomores Madison Clark, Raven Jordan, Valisha Watkins and Megan Wernette.
UB opens the weekend by playing Virginia on Friday morning. Virginia returns nine letterwinners from a year ago when they finished the year with an 18-13 record overall, 10-10 in ACC. It was the third-straight winning season under head coach Dennis Hohenshelt. Senior Haley Kole was named to the Preseason All-ACC Team after leading the team with 348 kills last season. Hohenshelt was an assistant coach at Penn State during Brown Lipsitz's playing tenure with the Nittany Lions.
The Bulls will play two games on Saturday beginning with Northwestern at 11:00am. The Wildcats went 14-17 last season and begin their first year under new head coach Shane Davis. Northwestern is led by its junior setter Taylor Tashima who ranked fifth in the Big Ten with 10.89 assists per set and totaled 1,165 for the year in 2015. Tashima also had 92 kills, while hitting .319 and recorded 232 digs. She was awarded AVCA Honorable Mention All-North Region and Big Ten Honorable Mention for her efforts.
UB will close out the weekend on Saturday at 4:00pm when its faces George Washington. The Colonials were 21-11 just a year ago and were picked to finish third in the Atlantic 10 this season. GW is led by senior Chidima Osuchukwu, a two-time AVCA All-East Region player and a 2014 AVCA All-America Honorable Mention selection. As a junior, she led the conference and ranked ninth nationally in both total blocks (168) and blocks per set (1.51) while leading the Colonials with 416 kills. She also set an Atlantic 10 record by being named the Player of the Week six times.
All three matches will have live stats provided by the University of Virginia. Links to all of those are on UBBulls.com.