The UB volleyball team lost two games in Toledo over the weekend, the first 3-2 and the second 3-1. Buffalo is now 3-16 in the season.
In the first game, the Bulls dropped the first two very tight sets (25-23 and 25-22) and were 22-17 behind in the third set. Not a good position. Then a kill by junior outside hitter Monika Šimkova (picture above) shortened the lead to four. Sophomore outside batsman Abby Leigh then served two aces in a row, and after two more hard serves from Leigh that resulted in poor Toledo attacks and UB points, the Bulls tied the third set. Even so, Toledo would hit back and get two match points just to see Buffalo score the goal. The set ended with Buffalo 27-25, scoring the last three points. The Bulls would win the fourth set 25-23, but the fifth set was anti-climactic as Buffalo fell apart and lost 15-7.
The cops were led by Lexi Nordmann, a senior mid-blocker with a team high of 17 kills and 6 blocks. The freshman outside batsman Milla Malik had 16 kills and the freshman on the right Emma Gielas had 14 kills. Šimkova had 5 aces (her career was high), second libero Jenna Sonnenberg had 23 digs and 7 assists and junior setter Kyndal Bacon had 44 assists.
Buffalo started the second game as badly as they finished the first game, losing the first set 25-10. Buffalo 20-14 followed in the second set when a Nordmann kill started a UB rally. Then Leigh stepped back on the service line, serving an ace and two more hard serves, both of which eventually resulted in kills by Šimkova, and Toledo’s lead dipped to 2. After a Toledo kill, another kill by Šimkova started the last UB run. in which they scored the last seven points behind Šimkova’s very hard serve to take set 25-21, the last point on an ace from Šimkova. The Bulls would lose two more tight sets (27-25 and 25-22) to give Toledo the match.
Malik led the bulls with a career high of 23 kills, hitting .400. Šimkova had 13 kills and 13 digs. Bacon had 48 assists while Sonnenberg led the team with 16 digs. Second middle blocker Courtney Okwara led the team with 4 blocks.
- During the two games, a highlight for the Bulls was the consistently strong performance of Šimkova and Leigh. It should be noted that Leigh adapts to a new position (defensive specialist). Also noteworthy was the outstanding play on Sonnenberg’s libero position, which flew all over the place to make games.
- Buffalo will play in Akron on Tuesday, March 23 at 7 p.m. (ESPN +) before ending the season at home against the unbeaten bowling green next weekend (March 26 at 6 p.m. and March 27 at 2 p.m., both Play on ESPN +).