Bulls Win Fourth Straight With 3-0 Victory At Eastern Michigan

Larra Bickelhaupt

YPSILANTI, MI – The University at Buffalo volleyball team won its fourth straight match on Saturday evening as the Bulls swept Eastern Michigan, 3-0, at the Convocation Center.  The Bulls improved to 13-8 on the year and 6-4 in MAC play.  The six victories tie a school record for MAC wins in a season, while this is the first time in school history that Buffalo has swept a road weekend with two 3-0 victories.

Buffalo took the contest 25-18, 25-15, 25-19 as the Bulls outhit the Eagles, .265 to .088.  It was the second straight night that an opponent has hit under .100 against the Bulls and the fourth straight match that a team has hit under .200.

The Bulls trailed 16-14 in the opening set when they went on a 6-1 run as a solo block from senior Cassie Shado put Buffalo ahead 20-17.  The Eagles pulled within 20-18, but the Bulls ended the set by scoring the final five points, including back-to-back aces from junior Larra Bickelhaupt to close out the set.  She had three aces in the opening set.

Buffalo hit .424 during the second set as it had 17 kills and just three errors, while Eastern Michigan hit just .108.  With UB leading 16-12 in the set, the Bulls rattled off five straight points as a kill from Scout McLerran gave them a 21-12 lead.  Another ace from Bickelhaupt clinched the set and gave UB a 2-0 lead in the match.

The Eagles jumped out to a 7-4 lead in the third set, but the Bulls answered with three quick points to tie it up.  EMU led again at 13-11 before UB went on a quick 4-1 run to take a 15-14 lead.  With the set tied at 15-15, the Bulls went on an 8-0 run to put the match out of reach.  Shado and freshman Andrea Mitrovic each had a pair of kills during the run to go along with a McLerran service ace.  The Eagles would score the next four points, but the Bulls made sure they got no closer as a kill from Raven Jordan followed by an EMU hitting error clinched the set and the match.

Mitrovic led the way with 13 kills, while Shado finished with 10 kills and had no errors as she hit .526.  She was also a force at the net as she had four total blocks, including two solos.

Sophomore Polina Prokudina had eight kills and eight digs, while Jordan finished with five kills and just one error as she hit .400.

McLerran dished out 32 assists, while adding two aces, a kill, five digs and a block.  Sophomore Kristina Nieves had three kills and a solo block.

Bickelhaupt finished with four service aces, following up on her five-ace performance from last night.  She added a match-high 19 digs.  Sophomore Hannah Watson added six digs.

The Bulls had 51 digs as a team on Saturday night, their most in a three-set match this year.

UB will remain on the road as it continues a five-match road trip next weekend.  The Bulls will face Kent State on Friday night and Ohio on Saturday evening.