Volleyball sweeps second straight tournament

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The Spectrum

No team is perfect, but the women's volleyball team keeps coming close.

For the second-straight weekend the Bulls swept a tournament on their home floor.

Alumni Arena played host to the four team 2010 Blue and White Classic, which featured the Bulls (9-2), the Binghamton Bearcats (4-6), the Hampton Lady Pirates (0-11) and the St. John's Red Storm (10-3).

"We really pride ourselves on protecting our home court," said senior setter Lindsey Schlegel. "This is our home gym. Teams have to come in here and try to beat us."

In similar fashion to last weekend's tournament, the Bulls only dropped one set, en route to sweeping the field.

Schlegel was named tournament MVP while junior blocker Abby Niekamp and senior blocker Kristin Bignell made the all-tournament team.

The Bulls opened the tournament with a win over SUNY rival Binghamton, 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-11).

Buffalo started the match with a dominant first set, hitting an impressive .419 percent. The Bearcats battled back to get within a point at 20-19, when freshman Dana Musil took the service.

Musil led the Bulls to five straight points to take the set with the winning point coming from a powerful spike by Niekamp.

The Bulls trailed for most of the second set and were losing 21-17. Niekamp helped shift the momentum with a powerful spike, forcing Binghamton to take a timeout.

The break in play, however, did not hamper Buffalo's run as the Bulls scored eight of the next 10 points to clinch the set. The third set was the team's best effort of the night as they sailed to a 25-11 third set victory, hitting .452 as a team.

Niekamp had 12 kills in the match to lead the team. Senior Kayla Govier had 11 kills while junior blocker Heather Pyle added 24 digs.

The Bulls continued the tournament early on Saturday against Hampton. Buffalo came out aggressive, sweeping the Lady Pirates 3-0 (25-11, 25-14, 25-12).

Musil finished off the first set with a service ace that hit the floor inches away from the end line.

The Bulls went on a 13-1 run to start the third set and didn't let up, winning by a score of 25-12.

The difference in the match was the difference in accuracy of the two teams. The Bulls hit at a .442 average compared to a -.014 for Hampton.

Senior hitter Marisa Hornbaker led the team with 10 kills and a .526 percentage, Musil contributed nine kills with a .500 percentage and Niekamp had eight kills with a .636 percentage.

In the Saturday night tilt the Bulls faced off against the St. John's Red Storm, winning the final match of the tournament 3-1 (25-16, 24-26, 25-12, 25-17).

"Our focus is just to get better and better, every match and every practice," Kress said. "Tonight I felt was our best team effort of the season."

The second set of the match was the only blemish of the weekend for Buffalo, as they lost by a score of 26-24.

The Bulls had a block party against the Red Storm, totaling 18 blocks as a team. Bignell led the team with 11 block-assists and two solo-blocks. Last weekend's tournament MVP Govier also contributed seven block-assists.

But the performer of the night was Schlegel, who posted six block-assists, something her coach had never seen.

"I haven't seen [Lindsey] Schlegel block the ball like that in her entire career," Kress said.

Schlegel also contributed 38 assists and seven digs in the team effort.

"It's easy to win when everyone does their job and everyone contributes," Schlegel said. "It's really easy to make good plays when the person next to you is working their butt off. It's teamwork at its best I'd say."

The Bulls will travel to Army next weekend for four games starting on Friday in the West Point Challenge.