BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo volleyball team took the opening set from the defending MAC Champion Ohio Bobcats on Friday night, but the Bulls fell 3-1 to Ohio.
The Bobcats took the contest 21-25, 25-21, 25-14, 25-18 as Ohio outhit UB, .265 to .167. The Bulls dominated for much of the opening set, hitting .278 opposed to just .095 for Ohio. Buffalo opened the night on a 10-4 run, using solid defense, including a couple of digs by sophomore Madison Clark. UB built its lead up to seven as a kill by Amber Hatchett put Buffalo ahead 19-12, forcing Ohio into a timeout. The Bobcats pulled back within 19-17, but a quick 4-1 run put Buffalo back ahead 23-18. The Bulls took the set on an Ohio service error.
UB also got out to the early lead in the second set as a kill from sophomore Valisha Watkins put Buffalo ahead 12-6. However, Ohio answered on an 11-5 run to tie the set up at 17-17. It remained tied at 21-21, when the Bobcats scored the last four points to take the set.
Ohio dominated its way through the third set, outhitting Buffalo, .385 to .040 as the Bobcats took it 25-14, and in the fourth the Bobcats got out to a big lead again before the Bulls were able to pull within two at 15-13. Buffalo remained down just a pair at 18-16, when Ohio scored five straight points to take a 23-16 lead on its way to the 25-18 victory.
Watkins led the Bulls with 14 kills, but added 15 errors on the night. Cassie Shado had nine kills and just one error, while sophomore Megan Wernette added eight kills and just two errors as she hit .429. Hatchett also added eight kills, while freshman Rachel Sanks finished with six. Freshman setter Scout McLerran finished with 40 assists on the night.
Defensively, freshmen Maddie Torbeck and Hannah Watson each had 12 digs, while Clark added 11 and McLerran chipped in eight. As a team, the Bulls outdug Ohio, 56-47. Buffalo also outblocked its opposition, 12.0-7.0, led by five block from Shado, including a pair of solos. Wernette had four blocks and Hatchett and Sanks each added three.
The Bulls return to action tomorrow night when they host Kent State at 6pm at Alumni Arena. For those unable to make it, the match will stream live on ESPN3.