Bulls finish season with emotional victory
The volleyball team ended its season this past weekend with a four-set victory over Kent State. The Bulls reached double digit wins for the fourth straight year, that has not been done since the 1996-99 era. Nick Fischetti /// The Spectrum
Saturday was a packed day for UB Athletics, as the men's basketball team, football team and volleyball team were all in action at home. Fans that completed the tripleheader were given a treat in the finale.
The volleyball team finished its season with a victory in arguably the most emotional game of the day.
Following a 3-0 loss to Ohio (19-9, 14-2 Mid-American Conference) on Friday night that head coach Todd Kress described as "flat," the Bulls came out full of energy on Kress' birthday.
Buffalo (10-18, 4-12 MAC) defeated Kent State (6-22, 3-13 MAC) in four sets on senior night. Though the Bulls have no senior players, it was the last match for two members of the coaching staff.
Buffalo's assistant coaches, Jenni Horvath and Andreza Santos, coached their last game from the Buffalo bench. Following the match, the two received flowers and hugs from the players as they cherished their final moments as a team.
"With our coaches leaving, there was a lot of emotion in us thinking 'this is it,'" said junior Carissa McKenna, who had seven kills and seven blocks for the Bulls. "We had a personal connection with them and they are more than just coaches; they're friends; they are like family."
The Bulls' play on the court echoed McKenna's emotion.
Buffalo took the first set 25-17 behind five kills from sophomore hitter Liz Scott and 12 assists from junior setter Dani Reinert. The Bulls were 15 of 35 on the attack, finishing with a hitting percentage of 31 - a significant improvement from their 13-percent performance the night before.
"We came out with a different attitude tonight," Kress said. "We wanted to end the season strong. We wanted to put an exclamation point on the season."
Buffalo dropped the next set 26-24, despite rallying from a 23-20 deficit and earning a game-point opportunity.
The third set was a back-and-forth affair that featured eight lead changes and 13 ties. Buffalo was able to take the set thanks to its great defense, as the Bulls had four blocks in the set and 11 in the match. The Bulls secured their victory in the third and fourth sets, winning 25-22 and 25-18, respectively.
Junior Dana Musil led the team with 13 kills and Scott rattled off 11. Reinert had 48 assists in the match, including 13 in the fourth set. Junior libero Kelly Svoboda had 22 digs for Buffalo.
"It was a great feeling to get a win and finish off the season the way we did," Musil said.
Although the season was a disappointing one for Buffalo, the young squad showed signs of improvement.
The Bulls won two of their final four matches and battled an 18-win Bowling Green (18-10, 13-3 MAC) squad to five sets on Nov. 2.
"We took [Bowling Green], who is about to win the conference, into five and I think that we really know what we have to do this offseason," McKenna said. "We have to jump higher, get more physical and I think tonight ended it on a great note. We know we can go so many places if we play together as a team. I'm really excited for what next season's going to hold."
Buffalo had one of the youngest rosters in the conference this season, playing with six freshmen and no seniors. The Bulls look for the experience to pay off next season.
"We had so many people involved this year and we got some experience for some of our younger ones," Kress said. "We really want to turn this thing around going into next year."
The victory secured Buffalo's fourth consecutive double-digit win season.
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