STATESBORO, GA – The University at Buffalo volleyball team was defeated twice on Friday as the Bulls lost 3-2 to Georgia Southern and 3-0 to South Carolina on the first day of the Springhill Suites Invite.
The Bulls made a valiant effort in their opening match on Friday as they were able to overcome a two-set deficit, sending the match to five sets before falling 25-13, 25-20, 23-25, 22-25, 15-13. After Georgia State hit nearly .400 through the first two sets, the Bulls were able to keep the Eagles under .200 in each of the last three sets.
UB opened the third set on 10-3 run, capped off by one of three service aces from sophomore Madison Clark on the afternoon. Buffalo increased its lead to 19-10 following a kill from sophomore Valisha Watkins and despite a late GSU comeback, the Bulls took the set 25-23 after a kill by junior Cassie Shado.
Georgia Southern opened the fourth set on an 8-3 run, but the Bulls answered back and a kill by Shado tied the set up at 11-11. The Bulls went ahead 14-13 only to have the Eagles regain an 18-15 advantage. The Bulls then rattled off three straight points to tie the set up and back-to-back kills by sophomore Megan Wernette put the Bulls ahead 21-19. UB went on to take the set 25-22.
The Bulls scored the first three points of the fifth set and led 8-6 at the change when Georgia Southern went on a 6-1 run to take a 12-9 lead. Buffalo was able to cut it back to one both at 13-12 and 14-13, but couldn't secure that final point as Georgia Southern took the set, 15-13.
The Bulls had six aces, led by Clark's three. Freshman libero Hannah Watson added two aces, while leading all players defensively with 22 digs. The Bulls also had 8.0 total blocks, led by five from Curcin and four from Shado.
In the nightcap, UB ran into a hot swinging South Carolina squad that remained undefeated with the victory. The Gamecocks took the match 25-13, 25-20, 25-7.
The Bulls had their best set in the second, thanks to play of freshman Rachel Sanks, who had five kills in the second set against USC.
Shado led the Bulls with seven kills, while Sanks and Wernette each had five. Sanks also finished with a career-best three aces. McLerran had 24 assists and Watson led UB with 10 digs. Shado had a team-high three blocks.
The Bulls will conclude play in Statesboro, GA on Saturday as they face Wake Forest at 11am.