Bulls Fall Just Short In Road Opener At Seton Hall, 3-2

Megan Wernette

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – The University at Buffalo volleyball team put together a solid performance on Friday night, but the Bulls fell just short, losing in five sets at Seton Hall.  The Bulls placed five players in double figures in kills in the loss.

The Pirates took the contest 25-23, 19-25, 25-23, 24-26, 15-12 as they narrowly out hit the Bulls, .259 to .244.  UB got off to a slow start as Seton Hall led 20-10 in their home opener, but UB fought all the way back to pull within one.  Buffalo fought off four set points, including a pair of blocks from sophomore Kristina Nieves, to pull within 24-23, but the Pirates scored the final point.

Buffalo raced out to a 7-3 lead in the second set and a kill from Nieves put Buffalo ahead 14-8.  Seton Hall pulled within four at 21-17, but UB scored four of the final six points to tie the match up at 1-1.

Seton Hall went ahead 14-10 in the third, but a kill from freshman Andrea Mitrovic pulled the Bulls back within one at 17-16.  The Pirates went ahead 24-21, but again UB fought off two set points, the second coming on a kill from Scout McLerran, before an attack error gave the Pirates the set.

With the Pirates ahead 2-1 in the match, the Bulls needed a victory in set number four.  A solo block from junior Megan Wernette gave Buffalo an early 5-1 lead in the fourth before Seton Hall went on a run to take a 14-10 lead.  Seton Hall continued to lead 17-13 when the Bulls went on a 5-1 run to tie the match up at 18-18 following a kill from Polina Prokudina.  The Pirates came back to take a 24-22 advantage, needing just one more point for the win, but the Bulls weren't going to let that happen, scoring the final four points of the set to take a 26-24 win and tying the match up at 2-2.

In the fifth set, the two teams kept it close as they remained tied at 7-7 midway through the final set.  Seton Hall went on a 4-1 run to take an 11-8 lead, but a block by Prokudina and Wernette tied the match up at 12-12.  However, those would be Buffalo's final points as Seton Hall scored the final three points for the win.

Mitrovic led the Bulls with 20 kills, while adding 18 digs.  Prokudina had 18 kills and a career-high 20 digs, while finishing with four assists.

UB's two middles combined for 24 kills and just three errors as Wernette had her best match of the season with 13 kills and just three errors, as she hit .400 with three blocks.  Nieves had 11 kills and no errors on 22 swings as she hit .500 with a team-high four blocks.

McLerran had 55 assists, while adding three kills and seven digs.  Junior Larra Bickelhaupt added 19 digs.

Both teams struggled from the service line in the match as the Bulls finished with 17 service errors and Seton Hall had 15.

Seton Hall, who defeated Oklahoma on their home court last weekend, improved to 3-1 with the victory.

The Bulls will play one more match in South Orange, NJ tomorrow morning when they face Rutgers at 11:00am.