Bulls Fall To Akron For First MAC Defeat

Polina Prokudina

BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo volleyball team suffered its first Mid-American Conference loss on Thursday night as the visiting Akron Zips came in to Alumni Arena to defeat UB, 3-1, in front of rowdy crowd of 511.  The loss drops Buffalo to 9-5 on the season and 2-1 in MAC play.

The Zips took the contest 25-23, 18-25, 25-15, 27-25 as they outhit the Bulls .234 to .161.  UB led 17-11 in the opening set before an 8-1 Akron run put the Zips ahead.  UB fought off two set points, but the Zips took the first, 25-23.

Buffalo opened the second set on a 6-2 run scoring six straight points after Akron scored the first two.  Amongst the six points were a pair of kills from both freshman Andrea Mitrovic and sophomore Polina Prokudina.  Akron pulled back within 17-14 late, but a quick 8-4 run gave the Bulls the set, 25-18, tying the match up at 1-1.

Akron came out after the break and won the third set 25-15 to take the lead in the match and both teams had chances to pull out the fourth as it unfolded.  The Zips led 19-15 in the fourth when Buffalo scored four straight points, capped off on a kill from Prokudina to tie it up at 19-19.  Akron scored two straight, but UB answered with two of its own to tie it back at 21-21.  Akron went on to take a 24-23 lead, but the Bulls fought off two set points and tied the set at 25-25 before Akron scored the final two points for the set and the match.

Mitrovic led the Bulls with a match-high 18 kills, while she also led the team with 16 digs and tied for the team-lead with three blocks, including a pair of solos.  Prokudina added 16 kills and 11 digs.

Junior Megan Wernette finished the night with six kills and sophomore setter Scout McLerran had four kills, to go along with her 35 assists and seven digs.

Defensively, Larra Bickelhaupt finished with 15 digs, while Hannah Watson added five.  Senior Cassie Shado tied for the team-lead with three blocks.

The Bulls struggled with errors on the night as they had 23 hitting errors, 10 service errors, and six blocking errors.

UB will now hit the road for the first time in conference play as they head to Ball State on Saturday evening.  The Cardinals had their unblemished conference record ended tonight in a 3-0 loss at Toledo.  Match time is set for 7pm and will air on ESPN3.