Bulls Defeat Western Michigan For Second Straight Win

Polina Prokudina

BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo volleyball team won their second straight match on Saturday night as the Bulls took down the MAC West leading, Western Michigan Broncos, 3-1, at Alumni Arena.  The Bulls improved to 11-8 on the year and 4-4 in the MAC.

The Bulls took the match 23-25, 25-16, 25-23, 25-19 as UB hit .315, its second straight night hitting over .300.

The Broncos got off to a quick start in the opening set as they led 18-13 before a 6-1 Buffalo run tied the set up at 19-19.  The set remained tied at 22-22 when Western Michigan scored two straight points and they went on to take the opening set 25-23.

UB responded in the second set with a dominating performance as the Bulls hit .393 in the set.  Buffalo led by just a pair at 13-11 when it scored four straight points, as a service ace from Polina Prokudina extended the lead to 17-11.  A solo block by senior Cassie Shado put the Bulls up 21-12 and a kill by Prokudina clinched the set, 25-16.

Western Michigan ran out to an early 11-8 lead in the third set as the Bulls called the timeout.  It worked as UB answered with a 9-3 run as a kill from Kristina Nieves put Buffalo up 17-14.  The Broncos fought back and the set was tied at 23-23 when kills from Prokudina and sophomore setter Scout McLerran clinched the set, 25-23.

Buffalo opened up a 6-2 lead in the fourth set before Western Michigan cut it to just two at 9-7.  The Bulls answered with three straight points as a WMU attack error forced the Broncos to call timeout with Buffalo leading 12-7. The Bulls continued to roll in the set as a block from Nieves and freshman Andrea Mitrovic put Buffalo ahead 19-10.  Still leading by nine, a kill from Shado forced WMU to call their second timeout with UB leading, 22-13.  The Broncos fought off four set points, but a kill by Raven Jordan clinched the set and the match.

Prokudina led the Bulls with 21 kills, while adding 11 digs, one of five players in double figures.  Shado finished with 19 kills and just two errors as she hit .486, while adding four blocks, including two solos.

Mitrovic added 10 kills and 11 digs, while Nieves had five kills and a team-high five blocks.  McLerran finished the night with 53 assists in four sets, while adding 12 digs and four kills, with no errors.  Jordan added three kills.

Junior Larra Bickelhaupt led the Bulls with 17 digs, while Hannah Watson added 12.

The Bulls will now begin a five-match road trip beginning on Friday night at Central Michigan.