Bulls aim to stay undefeated
Unity, selflessness have contributed to scorching start
Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 12, 2013 14:09
The volleyball team has a mantra: You’re only as good as your next win.
The squad continues to look ahead to its next game even as it travels an unprecedented path. The Bulls have been a perfect 6-0 this season – the best start for the program since 1989.
But nobody, players or coaches, is satisfied. The focus is on the next game and the next opponent, because the Bulls still have to make improvements.
“It’s great to be 6-0, trust me, we’d rather be 6-0 than 5-1, 4-2 or 3-3,” said head coach Todd Kress. “But there are still many, many areas of our match play that I think we can improve upon right now.”
In a disappointing 2012 season for the Bulls, who finished 10-18, a majority of their production came from junior Liz Scott. She led the team in nearly every offensive statistic.
This year is different. Everyone is getting involved and playing an indispensable role – especially sophomore Tahleia Bishop.
Despite being a sophomore on a team mostly dominated by upperclassmen, Bishop has led the team in points in half of its games. On Aug. 30 against Temple, she became the first player in program history to record 20 kills in a match.
“I think that we all feed off each other and we don’t really see class divisions when we’re on the court,” said senior libero Kelly Svoboda. “It’s side by side. We’re sisters.”
Senior Christine Fritsche has stepped up as well and has already eclipsed her statistics from last season. Through six games, Fritsche is second on the team with 53 kills – she recorded 41 kills in her junior year.
Kress said he couldn’t say there has been one specific player who has stood out to him.
“Everyone has really contributed,” Kress said. “Some people have stepped up in matches more than others, but we’ve had a different person every single match that’s kind of stepped up and led the way for us.”
The Bulls hadn’t had an individual player lead the team in points in consecutive matches until their two most recent games, in which Bishop compiled the most points.
The true test for this team begins this weekend at the Georgia State Tournament, which begins Friday. As Kress put it, “It’s very easy to become complacent.”
Buffalo’s first two games in the tournament come against Davidson and Central Florida, which are a combined 11-2. The following weekend – before Mid-American Conference play begins – the Bulls host Ohio State, the No. 13 team in the country.
“I definitely think we can win the MAC this year,” Svoboda said.
Jeff Placito contributed reporting to this story.