Mitrovic’s Record-Breaking Afternoon Leads Bulls To Five-Set Win

Andrea Mitrovic

KENT, OH – Sophomore Andrea Mitrovic broke a 23-year old school record on Sunday afternoon as she recorded a program-best 34 kills in a 3-2 win at Kent State.  The victory improves the Bulls to 10-6 on the season and evens their MAC record to 2-2.

The Bulls had to wait an extra day to play the match against the Golden Flashes, but that didn't stop Mitrovic and UB from coming home with the win.  Buffalo took the contest 25-27, 25-20, 18-25, 25-22, 15-12 as UB hit .261 for the afternoon, compared to .221 for Kent State.

Buffalo led for the majority of the opening set as it had a late 19-16 advantage, but the host Golden Flashes were able to come back by scoring four straight points and taking a 20-19 lead. UB fought off two set points in the first before Kent State came away with the 27-25 win. Mitrovic had six kills in the opening set, while setter Scout McLerran began her strong afternoon with 17 assists in the first set alone.

UB came right back in the second, scoring the first four points, including a pair of aces from freshman Paige Beck. A kill from Mitrovic opened the late 20-16 lead for the Bulls and Kent State was able to fight off two set points before a service error clinched it for UB.

Kent State came back to win the third set 25-18, but just like they did on Friday, the Bulls needed a strong fourth set and they got one. UB opened the fourth on a 15-9 run as Mitrovic had six kills in the first 15 points.  The Golden Flashes were able to close the lead to two late, but a kill from junior Rachel Sanks clinched the fourth set, sending the match to the fifth.

Mitrovic had nine kills in the fourth set alone as she had 29 through four sets, which also would have been a school record.

In the fifth set, the two teams were tied at 4-4 when the Bulls scored four straight points to take the 8-4 advantage. An ace from Mitrovic extended the advantage to 10-6, but a late Kent State charge pulled it within 13-12.  However, Mitrovic had her 34th and final kill of the day to end the Kent State run and Beck had her third service ace of the afternoon to clinch the set and the match.

"This team dealt with a lot of adversity and I am extremely proud of the way they handled it this weekend," said head coach Blair Brown Lipsitz. "We worried about the things that we could control and took care of business on the court after a tough opening weekend at home last week."

Mitrovic's 34 kills are tied for the fifth most by a player in the country this year and it is the most by a MAC player this season.  She broke the school record of 31 that was set by Candie Hirst against Youngstown State on Nov. 5, 1995.  Mitrovic's 37.5 points shattered the school record of 29.0, which was set in 2013.  Points did not become an official stat until the 2003 season.

Junior Polina Prokudina added nine kills, while Megan Wernette finished with eight. Sanks added seven kills and junior Kristina Nieves had six and just one error.

McLerran finished the afternoon with 56 assists, four kills and 12 digs.

Defensively, the Bulls finished with 86 digs, led by 19 from senior Larra Bickelhaupt, one of five UB players in double figures. Mitrovic added 16 digs, while Beck and fellow defensive specialist Hannah Watson each had 11.

UB also had 9.0 total blocks including four solo blocks from Wernette and four blocks each from McLerran and Mitrovic.

The Bulls will close out this three-match road trip on Thursday evening when the Buffalo faces Akron at 7pm.