The volleyball team won its first game in the Mid-American Conference Tournament, setting up a matchup with the Ohio Bobcats on Friday night in the quarterfinals in Toledo, Ohio. The Bobcats were the MAC East regular season champions and are the number two seed in the tournament.
Bulls 2010 Record: 18-15 (5-11 MAC)
Bobcats 2010 Record: 18-11 (10-6 MAC)
The two teams split the season series, with each team winning at home. The first meeting on Ohio's home court was disappointing for the Bulls. The Bobcats swept an uncompetitive Buffalo squad 3-0 (25-14, 25-19, 25-16) during Buffalo's first conference road trip of the season.
The second meeting at Alumni Arena was an emotional victory for the Bulls, and it was possibly their most important win of the regular season. The Bulls topped the Bobcats in a five-set thriller, 20-25, 25-15, 26-24, 20-25, 15-12.
Kelly Svoboda- The freshman defensive specialist is coming off of two consecutive MAC East Defensive Player of the Week awards. In the Bulls victory over Ohio this season, Svoboda tallied 25 digs, which was a significant improvement over the four she totaled in the loss to the Bobcats.
Christine Fritsche- The freshman outside hitter is important to both the Bulls attack and defense. Fritsche saw limited action early in the season, but she has been a vital part of the attack lately. In the Bulls win over the Bobcats, the freshman finished the match with 14 digs, seven kills, and two service aces.
Sue Jacobi- The senior outside hitter is the most important member of the Bobcats. She does it all. In the last meeting with the Bulls, Jacobi had 53 total kill attempts, but she only converted on 16. Despite the low hitting percentage, she contributed with 15 digs, two block-assists, and a service ace.
Katie Post- The Bulls found that stopping the junior outside hitter can be difficult in their last meeting. Post converted 21 kills on just 34 attempts and only four errors, good for a .500 hitting percentage. She also was important in stopping the Bulls attack as she compiled one solo block and five block assists.
The Bulls have struggled on the road in conference play this season, dropping six out of eight matches. However, the freshmen have had a whole season to adapt to the college level, and the team is hitting its stride at the right time.
With an upset win in the first round of the conference tournament earlier this week, and with a win over Ohio in their last meeting, the Bulls' confidence heading into this difficult match should be at a season-high.
Look for the Bulls to step up in their most difficult match of the season thus far. Winning the conference tournament from an underdog position will prove difficult for such a young team, but a win like this would go a long way for the future of the program.
Bulls in five sets