Bulls End Road Trip With 3-1 Win At Akron

Andrea Mitrovic

AKRON, OH - The University at Buffalo volleyball team ended it five-match road trip on Thursday night with a 3-1 win over Akron.  The victory is the sixth in the last seven matches for the Bulls as they continue to build on their school record for MAC wins in a season.  With the win, UB is 15-9 on the year and 8-5 in league play.

The Bulls took the match 25-21, 25-15, 19-25, 25-20 as UB outhit Akron, .289 to .184.  Buffalo, who leads the MAC in hitting percentage, hit .418 over the first two sets.  The Zips took the early 13-11 lead in the opening set, but a quick 5-2 run by the Bulls gave them the lead following a kill from sophomore Kristina Nieves.  The set was tied at 19-19 when the Bulls scored four straight points, capped off on a kill from junior Megan Wernette. Another kill by Nieves clinched the set.

Buffalo hit .476 in the second set as the Bulls had 12 kills and just two errors as a team on 21 attempts. It was a tight contest with the Bulls leading just 13-11 when UB scored five straight as a service ace from Polina Prokudina gave the Bulls the 18-11 advantage.  A kill by senior Cassie Shado clinched the set and gave the Bulls the 25-15 win and the 2-0 lead.

Akron came back out after the break and it was able to come away with a 25-19 win in the third set, but the Bulls put things away in the fourth.  With the set tied at 8-8, the Bulls registered five straight points, including a pair of kills from freshman Andrea Mitrovic.  The Zips tied the set back up at 16-16, but UB went on another 5-0 run as another Prokudina service ace gave the Bulls a 21-16 lead.  Akron cut the lead to three at 23-20, but the Bulls got a kill from sophomore setter Scout McLerran and another block from Shado to clinch the set and the match.

Mitrovic led the Bulls with 19 kills as she hit .317.  She added an ace, five digs, and three blocks, including a pair of solos.  Shado had 13 kills on 22 attempts, hitting .364 for the night.  She added a team-high four blocks, including three solos.

Prokudina had nine kills, four service aces, and added 12 digs, while Nieves finished with six kills on the evening, hitting .364.  McLerran dished out 42 assists and she also had five kills and no errors on seven swings, hitting .714. 

Junior Larra Bickelhaupt led the team with 15 digs, while Hannah Watson added six, and freshman Vanessa Marinelli had three digs and an ace off the bench.

Tonight's match was Buffalo's final regular season road match as the Bulls will be back in Alumni Arena for the final three matches of the season.  That will begin on Saturday night when the Bulls host Toledo at 6:00 pm.  It will be Spirit Day and fans are encouraged to wear purple to the match. Spirit Day is an event to show support for LGBTQ community and take a stand against bullying.