Errors continue to plague volleyball team
Junior hitter Dana Musil (8) and the Bulls scrapped back into the match against Ball State on Saturday but their late rally fell short. Satsuki Aoi /// The Spectrum
It was an error-filled, heartbreaking weekend for the volleyball team.
Accented in pink for breast cancer awareness, the Bulls (8-16, 2-10 Mid-American Conference) dropped a pair of conference games to Akron and Ball State at Alumni Arena.
"It just really came down to hitting errors," said head coach Todd Kress. "We talked about it in timeouts. We couldn't keep the ball in play. A couple of times, we had some really nice swings at the ball but we just missed. It just came down to errors."
On Thursday night, Buffalo took the court versus Akron (14-10, 7-5 MAC). The Bulls came out slow and allowed Akron to jump out to an early first-set lead. The Zips never looked back, as they took the first set from the Bulls, 25-20.
The second set was reminiscent of the first. Buffalo fell behind quickly and once again Akron took advantage of the Bulls' sloppy play, winning 25-15.
The third set was a new tale. Buffalo fought hard and won tough points to put Akron back on its heels. The Bulls finally took their first lead of the match and carried that momentum deep into the third set, but it wasn't enough. Akron finished the Bulls in straight sets, pushing past the Bulls 25-23 in the final set of the match.
Sophomore setter Kayla Nagle stepped in for the Bulls, who were without leading junior setter Dani Reinert because of an ankle injury.
"We go out and we have Nagle run the offense," Kress said. "We'll be fine without [Reinert], and I think Nagle will grow in the role. We want to support Kayla with this opportunity."
It was Nagle's first start for UB.
"I was a little nervous," Nagle said. "I was more excited. I was just so ready and so fired up to go at the beginning."
Two days later, on Saturday, Buffalo played host to MAC rival Ball State (13-12, 6-6 MAC) on breast cancer awareness night in Alumni Arena.
The Bulls couldn't finish their chances once again. The team committed 12 total errors in the first two sets and hit just .167 and .097.
"I just thought we were flat out of the gate," Kress said.
In the third set, junior middle blocker Carissa McKenna came in and gave the Bulls a much-needed spark.
Buffalo carried the momentum through the rest of the third and won the set 26-24.
"We kind of rectified it and righted ourselves out of the locker room going into the third set," Kress said. "I thought we played much better down the stretch."
Freshman defensive specialist Kayla Yingling and the rest of Buffalo's bench didn't allow the Cardinals to end the night early, as the Bulls kept the heat on Cardinals and jumped out to an early fourth-set lead.
"Kayla [Yingling], Casey [Hollstegge] and people off the bench helped us offensively," Kress said. "We got our defensive specialists and liberos involved. They scored some points for us on the end line and kept the ball off the floor, and that gave us an opportunity to be successful."
Buffalo slammed the door shut 25-20, forcing a fifth and final set.
The Bulls got off to a slow start in the fifth set. The Cardinals didn't let this opportunity pass them by, as they took the final set 15-8.
"They are a great team," said sophomore outside hitter Liz Scott. "It's disappointing, but it's good that we fought back in the third and fourth set. We'll learn how to fight back and not tense up once we are more experienced."
Buffalo is on the outside looking in at the MAC Tournament.
The Bulls will hit the road for their next match against Bowling Green (15-9, 10-2 MAC) on Friday at 7 p.m.
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