CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – The University at Buffalo volleyball team concluded its season-opening tournament on Saturday with a pair of losses, including a tough five-set loss in the tournament finale. UB lost the opener 3-0 to Northwestern before a 3-2 loss to George Washington.
On Saturday morning, Northwestern defeated UB 25-14, 25-15, 25-18 as the Wildcats outhit the Bulls, .360 to .108. Cassie Shado and Madison Clark led the Bulls against Northwestern with five kills each, while Hannah Watson had 11 digs on the defensive end.
UB nearly picked up its first victory in the nightcap as it won the first two sets against George Washington before ultimately falling, 22-25, 16-25, 25-14, 25-21, 15-10. The Colonials hit .191 for the match, while the Bulls hit .134.
GW led 8-5 in the opening set when the Bulls went on a 5-1 run as a kill by freshman setter Scout McLerran gave UB a 10-9 lead. George Washington went back up 12-10 when the Bulls answered with a 9-3 run as a kill from Valisha Watkins put Buffalo up 19-15. The Bulls took their first set of the year as another kill from Watkins gave Buffalo a 25-22 win in the first.
Buffalo put forth its most impressive performance of the weekend in the second set dominating the action. The Bulls opened the set on a 9-3 run as Watkins had three kills during the early run. A GW attack error increased the UB lead to 18-9 and a kill from Shado had Buffalo doubling up George Washington, 22-11. An error by the Colonials gave the Bulls the second set 25-16 and a 2-0 lead in the match.
However, George Washington fought back with a 25-14 win in the third set and then won a tough fourth set. The Bulls had a narrow 15-14 lead in the fourth when GW went on an 8-2 run to take a 22-17 lead. George Washington won the set 25-21 to force a fifth set. GW scored the first seven points of the fifth en route to a 15-10 victory in the set and winning the match 3-2.
Watkins led the Bulls with 17 kills, but had 11 errors on 37 total swings. Shado added 10 kills, while freshman Kristina Curcin added nine kills. McLerran finished with a career-best 37 assists, while adding six kills, four aces and 11 digs.
Watson led the Bulls defensively with 13 digs, while Clark added seven. Shado finished with a team-high three blocks.
The Bulls will head down to Pittsburgh next week for the Duquesne Tournament. UB will open play against Robert Morris on Friday at 5:00 pm.