Canisius came into Buffalo with hopes of claiming regional supremacy, but the Buffalo volleyball team had other ideas.
The Bulls (12-4) dominated Canisius (6-8) from the first serve at Alumni Arena on Wednesday night, shutting out the Golden Griffins, 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-18). With the victory, Buffalo upped its record to 7-0 at home, putting them in a comfortable position heading into Mid-American Conference play.
Freshman hitter Dana Musil put an exclamation point on the match with her strong play late in the third set. She put the Bulls in position to maintain their dominance at home.
"We dictated play tonight," said head coach Todd Kress. "When we played well we could hold them down. I thought we were limiting the quality swings that they were getting and keeping them out of their system."
The Bulls came out hot with a quick 7-2 start to force Canisius into calling a timeout. However, the Bulls let the Golden Griffins back into the set with mental errors and sloppy play.
After Canisius took their first lead of the set at 15-14, the Bulls came back with a 6-1 run of their own to recapture the lead at 20-15. The Golden Griffins would tie the set at 22, but the Bulls went on a three-point run to take the set, 25-22.
The Bulls again did not play to their capability in the second set and allowed Canisius to keep the score close. The Griffs took a 15-11 lead midway through the second set, but the Bulls would utilize another 6-1 run to regain the lead at 17-16.
With the score close at 19-18, the Bulls took a timeout to regain momentum before the end of the set. Trailing 22-18, Buffalo recorded four consecutive points to tie the set at 22.
The Bulls obtained set point at 24-23 and senior blocker Kristin Bignell finished off Canisius with a strong kill to give the Bulls a 2-0 set lead.
"We weren't at our best," Kress said. "The first two games we had way too many hitting errors, serving errors and passing errors. We definitely didn't come out at our best, but the third game we got a little better."
Despite the outcome of the first two sets, the Bulls had an easier time in the third set. With the score tight for most of the set, Musil stepped up when she needed to and showed the Griffs what she had to offer.
With the score 20-16, Musil pinned back-to-back spikes in the corner of the court and forced the visitors to take a timeout. Senior hitter Marisa Hornbaker then finished off the sweep with a well-placed spike to give Buffalo the 25-18 victory.
Musil finished the match with 12 kills and a .348 hitting percentage. She also added seven digs. Senior setter Lindsey Schlegel also contributed in the win with 30 assists.
"Speaking for all of our seniors, we expect this to be our best year in the MAC," Schlegel said. "We are all so excited to get into conference play. I feel like we are going to be ready to go this coming weekend."
The Bulls open up conference play on Friday at 7 p.m. against the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks at Alumni Arena.