Perfection in jeopardy
Bulls face tough challenge in Blue and White Classic
Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 19, 2013 18:09
Through 10 games this season, the women’s volleyball team has been near perfect. The Bulls have lost just two sets (30-2) and are a program-best 10-0 overall.
Statistically, this has been the best women’s volleyball team UB has ever had.
Despite the Bulls’ historic start, they failed to receive any votes for the NCAA’s top 25 rankings. In comparison, Iowa State is the 25th ranked team in the country with a 5-4 record.
This weekend – just one week from the start of their Mid-American Conference schedule – the Bulls (10-0) will host the Blue and White Classic, which could be the toughest stretch of opponents the team will face all season.
The Bulls will face Valparaiso (10-1), Maryland Eastern Shore (1-8) and No. 13 Ohio State (9-0).
“We kind of structured it that way, where we kind of build to this opportunity for ourselves,” said head coach Todd Kress. “We take it weekend by weekend and build strength in our schedule until we get to the strongest [pre-conference] weekend, now.”
The first game of the tournament comes against Valparaiso, which Kress says could very well be a top-25 program.
“They are very solid on all aspects,” Kress said. “I’m most impressed with their speed. They’re a tough team to beat; I can see that on film.”
If the Bulls can get past Valpo, Maryland Eastern Shore is the only team standing in their way before a showdown with Ohio State – and a possible matchup of undefeated teams.
“We’re just excited about the entire weekend,” Kress said. “We’re taking it one match at a time of preparation and that’s the way the team is approaching it as well.”
The Buckeyes will be the first ranked team the Bulls have faced this year.
MAC play will begin after this weekend. The Bulls’ schedule doesn’t get any easier, as their first conference match comes against No. 24 Ohio (8-1).
“They’re excited but they’re still very realistic as to where we are,” Kress said of his players. “We know that there’s still a ton of improvement that we need to work on. We got a long way to go to get to where we want to be.”
At the rate they’re going, where they want to be – a MAC Championship – seems conceivable.
The match against Valpo is set for 7 p.m. on Friday in Alumni Arena.