Road-weary Bulls fail to capture a set
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
The volleyball team traveled 1,630 miles this weekend only to fall short of capturing a single set in two games.
Buffalo started strong but finished poorly in both matches. The Bulls’ (7-13, 1-7 Mid-American Conference) losses extend their losing streak to five.
“We’ve had six of our first eight conference games on the road, which has been tough, especially with a young team,” said head coach Todd Kress.
The Bulls started off the weekend against MAC foe Northern Illinois (15-9, 6-2 MAC). Buffalo fell behind 19-12 in the first set, but a late rally closed the Huskies’ lead to 23-22. In the end, the deficit was too large to overcome and the Bulls fell 25-23 – the first loss in a three-set sweep.
In the final two sets, the Bulls were outscored by a total of 50-30.
“We talked a lot about sustaining our fight and our energy,” Kress said. “So that’s something we have to work on. If we play a quality set in the first set and don’t get it, we still have to come back in the second and third set.”
The Bulls were outhit by the Huskies .229 to .082.
“I think the low percentage is indicative upon the fight,” Kress said. “In the first set, [we] didn’t make as many errors. When you’re not fighting and you don’t have that same belief, things tend to not go your way.”
Two hundred miles later, the Bulls arrived in Kalamazoo, Mich. to square off with Western Michigan (13-8, 6-3 MAC). The match was almost a direct replica of Buffalo’s previous contest.
Once again, Buffalo played strong in the first set. The Bulls forced the Mustangs to the brink but fell short of a comeback effort. Western Michigan took the set 26-24.
It was all down hill in the following sets. The Bulls were dismantled in both the second and third sets, losing by a combined 50-29.
“We had opportunities in the first sets both nights,” Kress said. “We couldn’t take advantage; we couldn’t capitalize. It wasn’t that we collapsed – we just couldn’t sustain our fight. And when the other team put the pedal down and went stronger at us, we just didn’t have an answer for it.”
Buffalo was outhit by Western Michigan .250 to .099.
Despite falling in straight sets, the Bulls received solid play from two underclassmen, sophomore hitter Liz Scott and freshman hitter Tahleia Bishop. The two finished the weekend with 17 kills apiece.
“I think we all saw some positives this weekend,” Kress said. “But we realized it’s not yet good enough and we have to build upon the small successes we had this weekend.”
Buffalo will look to rebound over the next two weeks, as the Bulls will play host to four MAC opponents in Alumni Arena.
“We have got to come in here and get some of these home matches and see what we can do the second half of the season,” Kress said.
The Bulls’ next game is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 19 against Central Michigan (12-7, 6-2 MAC). The match is set to start at 7 p.m.