LEWISBURG, PA - The University at Buffalo volleyball team ended its non-conference season on a high note Saturday evening as the Bulls defeated Bucknell 3-2 for UB's first victory of the season. The Bulls went 1-1 on the day as they fell to Cornell 3-1 earlier in the morning.
UB snapped its 12-match losing skid with a five set win over Bucknell on Saturday, taking the match 25-22, 11-25, 17-25, 25-19, 15-10. The Bulls overcame a 16-12 deficit in the first set as they went on a 9-3 run as a kill from sophomore Megan Wernette gave the Bulls a 21-19 lead. A block from junior Cassie Shado and freshman Scout McLerran gave the Bulls the set 25-22.
After Bucknell won the second and third sets, UB was going to need to win the final two to pick up its first victory and the Bulls responded. UB opened the fourth set on a 7-3 run, forcing Bucknell into an early timeout. Another block by the Bulls gave UB a 17-13 lead and a kill from Shado clinched the set for UB at 25-19, forcing a pivotal fifth set.
UB scored the first three points of the fifth set and never looked back, opening a 10-5 lead following another block. Buffalo led 13-7 and a kill from sophomore Valisha Watkins ended the match.
Shado led the Bulls with 11 kills and just one error on 13 swings as she hit .769 for the match. Wernette also was efficient with 11 kills and just four errors. Watkins had a team-high 13 kills, but had 10 errors on 38 swings. Madison Clark, who was named to the All-Tournament Team following the match, had nine kills, five digs and four blocks. McLerran led the offense with 41 assists.
"It is always great to get a win on the road, especially going into MAC play," said head coach Blair Brown Lipsitz. "It was a hard fought match with everyone contributing. We saw some great performances from our middles and had some of our younger athletes step up in a big way when we needed them."
Earlier in the day, Cornell defeated UB 24-26, 25-22, 25-16, 25-22 as they came back after the Bulls took the opening set. Watkins led the Bulls with 11 kills, while Wernette had nine kills and Shado and Amber Hatchett each added six. McLerran finished with 31 assists in the match.
Watson had 14 digs against Cornell, while Clark and Benitez each had six. The Bulls finished with nine blocks, led by five from Shado, who had a pair of solos.
The Bulls will now open up Mid-American Conference play next weekend traveling to Kent State on Friday night for a 7:00 pm match.