UB volleyball deflates after four sets against Canisius

Team still winless through nine games played


Tuesday night’s matchup was the closest the volleyball team came to a home matchup so far this year.

Going into the game against Big 4 rival Canisius, Bulls head coach Blair Brown Lipsitz was filled with budding optimism as she viewed the match as an opportunity to show anything close to a home crowd what these new Bulls are capable of.

But it didn’t matter which court the team played on. Buffalo still had the same results.

In one of their closest games so far this season, the Bulls (0-9) lost to their backyard rivals Canisius (2-10) 3-1 on Tuesday night. It’s a far cry from the 6-3 start the Bulls earned just last season.

The Bulls started out the match losing 25-16 in the first set to the Griffs.

“We started out sluggish at first,” Lipsitz said. “But after that [first set] everybody woke up and [the team] responded.”

The Bulls stepped it up a notch for the two sets that followed and won the second set 25-20. This score came after the Bulls started out on a 6-0 run, which the Griffs fought back from, but they held on to take the set, tying the game up at one set each.

The third set ended with Canisius besting Buffalo 25-23. It was this set that provided the game’s most exciting, back-and-forth struggle. Throughout this set, there were 14 ties and seven lead changes.

At one particular point, the Bulls found themselves behind 12-14, which is when Lipsitz called a timeout. After this time out, the Bulls scored three points in a row to take a 1-point lead. The set came to a halt when Buffalo failed to overcome the last minute deficit that eventually handed Canisius the win for the set.

“We talked about momentum,” Lipsitz said. “Volleyball is a game of momentum, so it was not surprising that there were so many lead changes.”

The last set mirrored the first set as the Griffs immediately took a commanding lead and never wavering, finishing the Bulls off 25-12.

“Canisius had the edge leading the game 2-1. We were backed up on our heels and they could sense that the end was near,” Lipsitz said about the fourth set, “It is definitely something that we have been and are still working on every day.”

This loss still renders Buffalo winless this season with a 0-9 record. 

Senior Amber Hatchett did not play Tuesday for reasons Lipsitz would not specify. Despite this, playing Canisius, though, did seem like the optimal opportunity for the Bulls to finally get that first mark in the win column.

Starting in Hatchett’s place was freshman Megan Wernette, who ended up recording four kills and four blocks. Sophomore Cassie Shado finished with 10 kills while freshman Valisha Watkins finished with eight. Senior Megan Lipski did lead the team in kills with 13, but also was responsible for 12 errors on the evening, which proved to hurt in the long run.

In the midst of the Rebel Classic this past weekend, Lipsitz said she is trying to get the team to “learn to fight.” During this game’s finer moments, the Bulls seemed to take coach’s words to heart. 

“We have played some good teams, but we are trying to teach the team how to win,” Lipsitz said. “Winning is definitely something you have to learn, you have to want it … Effort and mental toughness is something we need as well.”

The Bulls will next play in the Big Orange Classic in Syracuse from Sept. 19-20. Their first match will be against Navy (2-8), followed by matches against New Hampshire (6-6) and Syracuse (6-2). The first match on Friday is set to begin at 7 p.m.

Reuben Wolf is a sports staff Writer and can be reached at sports@ubspectrum.com