BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo volleyball team dropped a tough five-set match to Central Michigan on Friday night, but in the process set a pair of records not achieved in a decade.
Freshman Scout McLerran finished the night with 64 assists, the first 60-assist performance since 2009 and the most assists by a UB player since Amy Brown had 77 against Canisius on Oct. 5, 2005. The 64 assists were the most ever by a UB player in the current 25-point scoring format, which began in 2008.
McLerran had an excellent night connecting with her two middle blockers as junior Cassie Shado finished with 21 kills and just one error, hitting .667 for the night. Sophomore Megan Wernette added a career-high 20 kills. It was the first time since Nov. 14, 2006 that UB had two players with at least 20 kills in the same match when Jenna Mapé (22) and Claudia Neba (21) achieved the feat against Ball State.
Despite the solid offensive numbers, the Bulls still fell short to Central Michigan 29-27, 19-25, 18-25, 25-23, 15-13. The first set was extremely tight as CMU fought off an early 6-2 run by the Bulls. The Chippewas took a 22-20 lead before the Bulls were able to tie it up at 23-23. After that, Buffalo fought off four straight set points to tie the match at 27-27 before the Chippewas scored the final two points of the set.
The Bulls came back with a dominating performance in the second, staking themselves out to a 10-3 lead following three straight service aces from McLerran. The Bulls increased their lead to 18-9 after a kill by Shado and despite a late charge, the Bulls came away with the 25-19 victory.
In the third set, Buffalo trailed 12-10 when the Bulls scored five straight points to take a 15-12 lead. A block from Shado and senior Amber Hatchett increased the UB advantage to 20-14. A kill by Wernette clinched the set, 25-18.
UB led 12-10 early in the fourth set before Central Michigan came back to take an 18-14 lead. However, the Bulls went on a 6-0 run and following solo blocks from Hatchett and freshman Rachel Sanks, Buffalo had a 20-18 lead. The set tied back up at 22-22 and CMU scored three of the last four points to send the match to a pivotal fifth set.
In the fifth set, Buffalo began on a 5-1 run as a kill from Hatchett forced Central Michigan into the early timeout. A kill by Sanks gave the Bulls a 10-6 lead in the set, but the Chippewas began to fight back. With Buffalo leading 12-9, CMU scored five straight points to take a 14-12 lead. Central Michigan went on to win the set 15-13.
In addition to the 21 kills from Shado and 20 from Wernette, Sanks had a career-best 12 kills, while Hatchett added nine and Madison Clark finished with seven.
The Bulls had 13.0 blocks as a team, led by six each from Shado and Hatchett. Wernette added five and Sanks had four.
Buffalo will remain home tomorrow night when the Bulls host Eastern Michigan at 6pm at Alumni Arena. It will be Spirit Day and fans are encouraged to wear purple and help take a stand against bullying and show support for the LGBTQ community.