A brief review of last year's athletics
Welcome to UB class of 2014. There are a lot of important things that you should know about our university, including what to expect from our sports teams. Buffalo competes in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) mainly against teams from Michigan and Ohio. Although it's not a powerhouse conference, there's always excitement surrounding athletics at UB. Whether we're falling just short of topping the No. 2 seeded UConn Huskies in men's basketball (Dec. 4, 2008) or defeating Temple University's football team on a last second hail mary (Sept. 13, 2008), the Bulls never fail to keep fans on the edge of their seats. Here's a look at what our student athletes accomplished last year and what you can look forward to during the 2010-11 seasons.
Although the baseball team didn't achieve their season goal of qualifying for the Mid-American Conference tournament, there were many positives taken away from the season.
The Bulls finished the season with a 23-29 record, which included a record of 9-18 against conference opponents. They finished in fifth place in the MAC East division and were just four games back from qualifying for the conference tournament.
"I thought again we took some positive steps, for the third-straight year we've increased our win total," said head coach Ron Torgalski. "Showing progress in the program, [that] we're going in the right direction, and we have got to continue to build on that."
With two series remaining on the schedule, the Bulls were four games behind Miami(OH) for the final spot in the MAC tournament, and hosted the RedHawks for a three-game series at Amherst Audubon Field in their final home series of the season.
With their post-season lives at stake the Bulls pulled through with an all-important sweep of their conference foes, pulling within a single game of qualifying for the MAC Tournament for the first time in school history.
This was the Bulls first sweep of a MAC opponent in five seasons, and it came with the season on the line.
The Bulls then needed to win a series on the road against the Bowling Green Falcons. The Bulls battled, but come up short against the Falcons.
"The kids never quit," Torgalski said. "They came to play every day."
The 2010 roster featured 11 seniors this past season, including second basemen Brad Agustin who was a First-Team All-MAC selection. Agustin became the second player in Bulls history to earn the recognition.
Over his four years playing for the Bulls, Agustin broke four school career records. These records included 204 games played, 793 at bats, 241 hits, and 168 runs scored.
Another senior from this past season was left-handed pitcher Chaz Mye. Mye signed as a free agent with the Oakland Athletics, becoming the fourth player from the Buffalo program to sign with a Major League Baseball organization in the past four seasons.
Although the season didn't end as planned, there is no doubt that the Bulls are heading in the right direction.
Following an up-and-down season, the Bulls will look to rebound from a tough loss to Miami (Ohio) in the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament.
The Bulls had a great start to the season, going 7-3 over their first 10 games.
They also won their first three conference contests before falling to Kent State on the road. The loss marked the beginning of a tough stretch for Buffalo as they went 1-5 during a six-game span.
However, Buffalo turned things around quickly with a five-game winning streak, capped by an overtime thriller against St. Peter's.
Buffalo finished the regular season with an overall record of 17-11 and went 9-7 in the MAC. The record was good enough to tie Miami (OH) for the fourth-seed heading into the MAC tournament.
The RedHawks proved to be too much for the Bulls as they went on an early 17-0 run and never relinquished the lead. Buffalo made a valiant second half comeback, cutting the lead to as little as four points, but clutch free throw shooting in the final two minutes sealed the victory for Miami.
Although the season ended on a sour note, it was the fifth time in the last seven years the Bulls had at least 17 wins.
The '09-'10 season also featured a number of individual accolades. Senior guard Rodney Pierce was named First Team All-MAC for the second-consecutive season. Pierce led the Bulls in scoring, averaging 18.7 points per game and also ranked second on the team in assists (92) and steals (42).
Fellow senior Calvin Betts was an All-MAC Honorable Mention. Betts did a little bit of everything for the Bulls, ranking no lower than third on the team in nearly every statistical category.
Senior point guard John Boyer was awarded for his outstanding performances both on and off the court by being name to the Academic All-MAC team. In addition to leading the nation in assist-turnover ratio, Boyer – who walked onto the team as a freshman – earned a 3.5 grade point average as a physical therapy major.
Buffalo's head coach Reggie Witherspoon was also honored as he was selected to serve as an assistant coach for the 2010 USA Men's U18 National Team at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship. Witherspoon is currently attending team training in San Antonio, TX.
Before leaving for San Antonio, however, Witherspoon announced the signing of three new players for the 2010-11 season.
Auraum Nuiriankh (Baltimore, MD/Arundel/Charis Prep), Jarod Oldham (Decatur, IL/Eisenhower) and Corey Raley-Ross (Charlotte, NC/Harding) will join November signees Cameron Downing (Tulsa, OK/Memorial) and Javon McCrea (Newark, NY/Newark) as the new additions to the Bulls roster.
Despite losing their scoring and assist leaders, the Bulls will try to continue their streak and earn another winning season in '10-'11.
Buffalo has never been known for its men's tennis team, but this year was an exception.
The Bulls won their first ever Mid-American Conference regular season championship in 2010. They finished the season with a record of 13-7, which included a perfect 5-0 against MAC foes.
En route to being crowned MAC regular season champions, the Bulls defeated two schools for the first time in the history of the program: Ball State, and perennial MAC powerhouse Western Michigan.
"We're very happy with the way things turned out last season," said head coach Lee Nickell. "We're very proud that we turned it around and came through and won the MAC regular season."
The Bulls entered post-season play on a roll, winning eight of their final 10 matches before the start of MAC tournament play.
In the MAC tournament semifinals the Bulls defeated Toledo 4-1, earning their first-ever appearance in the MAC tournament final against No. 3 and four-time defending conference champions Western Michigan. The top-seeded Bulls were defeated in the championship match.
"Obviously we were disappointed that we didn't close it out and finish with the tournament championship, but that gives us something to shoot for this upcoming year," Nickell said.
After the most successful season in the history of the program, the men's tennis team will look to build on their success from this past season and use it to propel the program into becoming a perennial contender
Men's Track & Field
Men's track and field head coach Perry Jenkins led the Bulls to a very successful season this past year.
During the indoor season, both the track and the throws teams won multiple awards and broke numerous records. The dominating duo of seniors Jake Medonia and Matt Gac took the Mid-American Conference crown in shotput and weight throw, respectively.
To open the outdoor season the Bulls competed in the Seahawk Invitational. Gac broke school records in both the discuss and the weight throw. His wins in both events allowed the Bulls to win the meet. However, the Bulls were in better shape in the following week's Raleigh Relays.
"I think the team came together by the [Raleigh Relays]," Jenkins said. "By that [time] our eye was on the MAC championships and the NCAA championships. So that was the turning point."
The Raleigh Relays were more of the same success the Bulls had been building towards. Sophomore Casey Garbaty shattered another school record by throwing 224-6 (68.43m) in the javelin.
The men's relay team broke another pair of records at the meet. Senior Ezekiel Porter, senior Brian Smith, sophomore Isaiah Mask and junior Shaun Brummert broke the medley relay school record with a third place finish. Senior Daniel Schichtel, senior Dan Harris, Porter and Smith broke the school's record in the 4x200 meter relay with a fifth place finish.
Their next goal of the season was hosting the MAC championships at UB Stadium. Boosted by the cheers of the home crowd, the Bulls gave one of their best performances in years.
"The championships went very well," Jenkins said. "Having the MAC championships in your backyard was very satisfying. I'm very pleased with the performances."
Jenkins noted that the team scored the most points they have ever scored in the 10 years they have been in the MAC.
In the previous season, it was apparent that the rowing team was becoming a fierce national competitor.
The team won the coveted Harvey Cup for a fourth-straight time and won its second-consecutive Dad Vail Regatta Championship. Afterwards, they signed 15 new rowers to continue the team's success.
"I incorporated the new [members] of the team who were very talented," said head coach Rudy Wieler. "We blended them with the athletes that we had in front of the pack… I think that's ultimately what worked out."
The near seamless blending of the old and new members guided the team to what seemed to be a replay of that successful season.
The season went along smoothly enough towards mid-point in the season. In polls, both the lightweight and varsity teams were climbing nationally in the rankings. According to the USRowing/CRCA Collegiate Rowing national poll, the varsity team was ranked No. 27 in the nation while the lightweight squad was ranked eight.
The team got better after the announcement. The Bulls dominated the following meet, the Knecth Cup.
In the first day they won nine of 11 races, including a six-second win over the second place team in the Varsity Eight semifinals The next day, the Bulls rounded out the meet with 41 individual medals. The Second Varsity Eight and Four won their races while the Varsity and Novice eight came in second.
The Bulls then hosted Eastern Michigan in the Harvey Cup meet. Under cold and rainy conditions, the rowing team once again showed its strength as it swept its five races against EMU.
The momentum gained by the races and awards came to a head in the Colonial Athletic Championships in Sandy Run, Va. The Bulls came into the meet with the goal of being number one.
The Bulls succeeded in both feats. The Varsity Four and Second Varsity Eight took their races. The Varsity Eight came in second place to give the Bulls 33 points to win over Northeastern's 32.
A little more than a week later, the rowing team travelled to Philadelphia, Pa. to defend their titles at the Dad Vail Regatta Championships. The Bulls put on an impressive performance at the meet. They were awarded their third straight Jack and Nancy Seitz Trophy and their second straight Coleman D. Boylan Trophy in the Second Varsity Eight Race.
However, victory was a bittersweet feeling as the team said goodbye to the seniors who helped them win numerous titles.
"It was a great season and I am very happy with the way things went this year," Wieler said in a press conference. "We had a lot of young kids make significant contributions and that bodes well for the future of our program. I also want to thank our seniors for a fantastic four years. They won three Dad Vail Regattas and a CAA."
After a long and grueling season, which included their first postseason appearance since 2005, the Bulls will look at the positives and try to improve for the 2011 season.
The Bulls finished the regular season with a record of 21-32, including a 9-13 record in Mid-American Conference play. However, after a sweep of Toledo in their final regular season weekend, the Bulls propelled into the postseason for just the second time in school history.
In their first game of the MAC tournament, Buffalo played the No. 2 seed Ball State Cardinals, who claimed the regular season MAC Wets title. The Bulls were plagued by errors, and couldn't get their offense going as they fell by a score of 7-0.
Despite the quick exit from the postseason, there were bright spots, including the performances of sophomore Kristen Waldron and freshman Ashley Bertot, who led the Bulls offensively during the '10 season.
Waldron played in 55 games and led the team with a batting average of .330. She had 60 hits and 27 runs. Bertot finished second in batting average (.314) and runs (22), while also earning 37 hits in only 37 games played.
After this stellar first season, Bertot was named to the All-MAC Freshman Team. Bertot set a single-season school record, successfully stealing 26 in 27 attempts, and joined the squad of nine other freshmen.
Waldron was selected the team's Most Valuable Offensive Player by head coach Jennifer Teague. This was the second-consecutive year that Waldron won the award, truly acknowledging her skill and leadership.
Senior Shannon Barr led all pitchers in most statistical categories. Barr went 14-18 with a 3.79 ERA and 18 complete games. She was second on the team in strikeouts with 144, but only gave up 67 walks. Barr also hit three home runs, tied for second most on the team.
Barr was presented the True Blue Award, given to the student-athlete who shows outstanding commitment to the team and gives 110 percent on the field. Barr was a four-year starter at Buffalo, and left her mark by earning a number of all-time pitching records, including games started and appearances.
With a good core of young talent and postseason experience under their belt, Buffalo will look to continue to improve. After making their second postseason appearance, the Bulls are confident they will make their third in the 2011 season.
On the heels of the most successful season since joining the Mid-American Conference, the volleyball team is poised to take another step forward in the upcoming year.
The Bulls finished last season with a quarterfinal loss to the Western Michigan Broncos in the MAC Tournament but only after the team captured its first ever tournament victory in the opening round. The team finished 16-16 on the season, which was the best finish since 1997.
Under the guidance of second-year head coach Todd Kress, the Bulls looks to sore to new heights this season. The team returns several key players including last year's freshman sensation Tori Beckman and the senior leader Dina Silvers.
Kress has scheduled four non-conference matches next season with teams that competed in the NCAA tournament last year. He also is responsible for arguably the best recruiting class in Bulls history. According to Prepvolleyball.com, the Bulls placed somewhere between 31st and 50th on this years recruiting class rankings.
Highlighting the list of recruits is Dani Reinert who won the Andi Collins award last season for the nation's best setter. Kress believes the group of incoming players he has assembled will take Bulls volleyball to new heights in the years to come.
"This class is the beginning of great things for the volleyball program here at Buffalo," Kress said in a press release. "Each of these student-athletes come here with the same mission and that is to win. They will be the foundation and the first building block in taking UB volleyball to new heights."
The Bulls open their season at the West Virginia tournament on August 28 and will look to improve on last season's success.
After a surprising run in the 2009 Mid-American Conference tournament the previous season, the women's basketball team took a step back in 2010.
"I think your main goal always is to compete in the MAC [tournament]," said associate head coach Cara Pearson. "But you kind of have to take every game as it comes. So, I don't think the goal ever changes."
Junior Forward Kourtney Brown was outstanding for the Bulls all season long. She earned MAC East Player of the Week honors four-time over the course of the season as well as First Team All-MAC. She also earned All-Defense first team.
In a loss to Akron late in the season, Brown scored 20 points in the game to become the second fastest player to reach 1,000 points in school history.
"Brown is incredibly important because she's one of those types of players who has the never say die attitude," Pearson said. "In a game [Brown] is extremely tough. Even when she is triple teamed she is still getting her points."
The Bulls next step is to improve and the team showed that they are committed to doing that.
"A majority of our athletes are here on campus," Pearson said. "They made the commitment this summer to stay here and workout with our conditioning coach…some of [the athletes] chose to stay here and work so that [the team] could work together."
The Bulls had a successful season in '09-'10, despite a tough loss in the semifinals of the Mid-American Conference tournament. The team finished the regular season with a record of 8-8, and went 4-4 in conference play.
In the semifinals of the MAC tournament, Buffalo played a tough match against eventual champion and top-seeded Miami (Ohio), but was defeated by a score of 4-1.
Senior Denise Harijanto, who finished her Buffalo career as the all-time leader in doubles wins with 89, was the undisputed leader of the Bulls throughout the season. In addition to being selected to the All-MAC first team, she was named the ITA Northeast Senior Player of the Year.
Harijanto also joined junior Aleksandra Petrova in being named to the Academic All-MAC team. This was the third straight selection for Harijanto, and the first for Petrova.
Buffalo will attempt to get even better next season and try to reach the semi-finals of the MAC tournament for the sixth-consecutive season.
Women's Track & Field
The women's track and field team had success this past season with the help of young team members, but were led by upperclassmen to put together a solid season.
Among their leaders was sophomore shot-putter Kristy Woods, who became the second ever All-American in the history of the program, earning a trip to the NCAA Championships.
Senior pole-vaulter Tiffany Maskulinski also made the trip to the NCAA Championships as well after finishing first in the Mid-American Conference Championships in the pole vault.
Woods finished in third place at the national meet against the toughest competition that collegiate track and field has to offer.
Woods became the second member of a Bulls track and field squad to earn All-American status, and the second female athlete this year to garner the honor.
The Bulls finished fifth out of 12 teams in the Mid-American Conference Championships, as Buffalo hosted the meet for the second time in school history.
The Bulls will look to build on the success of their young team, and have a stellar season in '10-'11.
Questions? Comments? Want more info about other sports such as soccer, swimming and diving or wrestling? Check out buffalobulls.com or ubspectrum.com for the latest.