BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo volleyball team dropped its regular season finale on Saturday evening as the Bulls lost in four sets to Bowling Green at Alumni Arena. Prior to the match, the Bulls honored their lone senior, Cassie Shado.
UB has now finished the regular season with a 15-12 record and an 8-8 mark in conference play, marking the first time in school history that the Bulls finished the MAC season with a record of .500 or better. The Bulls will be the #5 seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament, its best seeding ever.
The Bowling Green Falcons, who clinched a share of the regular season title with the win, took the match 25-27, 25-22, 25-21, 26-24. It was a contest that featured 44 ties and 19 lead changes.
The Bulls led by just one at 9-8 in the opening set when UB scored four straight points to take a 13-8 advantage. Bowling Green came back and tied it up at 18-18, but the Bulls answered with two straight to regain the lead. The Falcons then went on a run and had two set points, but the Bulls fought them off and then got kills from Scout McLerran and Shado, followed by a BG attack error to clinch the opening set, 27-25.
The second set was a close one for the majority of the set as the two team were tied up at 21-21 late before Bowling Green scored three straight points and went on to win the set 25-22. The third set was also tight late with the two teams tied at 20-20, but the Falcons went on a 5-1 run to clinch the set and take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Both teams had their opportunities in the fourth as the Bulls jumped out to an 8-5 lead, forcing an early BG timeout. The Falcons would go ahead late, 18-16, but UB came back to tie the set up at 22-22 following a kill from Megan Wernette. The Bulls took a 24-23 lead on a block by Wernette and Kristina Nieves, but BG fought off the set point and the Falcons ended the match with a pair of service aces.
It was a season-high blocking performance for the Bulls, who had 16.0 total blocks in the match, led by nine from Shado. Wernette added eight blocks, and Nieves had six.
Defensively, junior Larra Bickelhaupt tied her career high with 22 digs, which she set at Bowling Green in early October. Mitrovic added 15 digs, while McLerran had 10 digs to go along with her 46 assists. Prokudina rounded out the double figure performances in digs with 13.
The Bulls will be the #5 seed in the upcoming conference tournament, which begins on Thursday in Oxford, OH. As the fifth seed, the Bulls will play #8 Eastern Michigan at 4:30 pm in the opening match.