BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo volleyball team snapped a six-match losing streak and picked up their first home win of the season on Saturday night with a 3-2 win over Eastern Michigan.
It was a similar match to last night, but this time the Bulls were the victors with a 14-25, 26-24, 24-26, 25-21, 15-13 win. The Bulls narrowly outhit Eastern Michigan, .238 to .231.
The Eagles took the first set easily on Saturday night, 25-14, but the Bulls were not going to go down quietly. Eastern Michigan opened a 7-3 lead in the second set and continued to lead 16-11 when the Bulls scored five straight points to tie it up at 16-16 following a kill from freshman Rachel Sanks. The Eagles regained a 23-21 lead and were just two points away from the 2-0 lead, but UB scored two straight points and then fought off a set point on another kill from Sanks to tie it up at 24-24. A kill by junior Cassie Shado and an Eastern Michigan attack error gave the Bulls the set, 26-24.
The third set was another close one as Eastern Michigan fought back after the Bulls led 17-12. The Eagles went on an 8-1 run to take a 20-18 lead before UB went back ahead 21-20. Buffalo had a set point at 24-23, but the Eagles scored three straight points to take the set, 26-24.
In the fourth set, Buffalo led 11-8 following a kill from freshman Scout McLerran. The Bulls had leads of 21-17 and 23-19 following another kill from Sanks and a solo block by senior Amber Hatchett clinched the fourth set 25-21 and sent the Bulls to a fifth set for a second straight night.
Whereas the Bulls got out to the big lead last night in the fifth, it was Eastern Michigan who struck first tonight scoring the firth three points before the Bulls quickly tied it up. With the Bulls trailing 6-4, Buffalo scored five straight points to go up 9-6. Buffalo led 11-8 when Eastern Michigan scored two straight to pull within one. UB regained a 13-11 lead, but the Eagles again tied it up at 13-13, forcing the Bulls into a timeout. UB came out of it and got a kill from Wernette to take the 14-13 lead and McLerran put the exclamation point on the victory with a service ace to clinch the match.
Shado led the Bulls with 15 kills on the night, while Wernette finished with 13 kills and just two errors, as she hit .458 on the evening. Sophomore Valisha Watkins added 12 kills and Sanks and Hatchett each finished with nine.
McLerran had five kills to go along with her match-high 53 assists. She finished the weekend with 117 assists, the most in a two-match period since Amy Brown in 2005. McLerran also added three service aces for the second straight night and chipped in seven digs.
Freshman Hannah Watson had a team-high 17 digs, while Maddie Torbeck finished with 14 and Watkins completed the double-double with 10 digs. The Bulls had 11.0 total blocks, led by six from Shado and four each from Wernette and Hatchett.
Buffalo will continue its five-match homestand next Friday when the Bulls host Ohio at 6:00 pm at Alumni Arena. For those unable to make it, the match will air on ESPN3.