Bulls overpower Rockets in five-set matchup

Volleyball beats Toledo 3-2 Saturday

volleyball

In Saturday night’s thrilling five-set matchup, the Bulls (5-9) earned their first conference win of the season.

The match kept both UB and Toledo fans on the edge of their seats, as the volleyball teams traded sets back and forth, with the Bulls finally overpowering the Rockets (7-7) in the fifth set, leaving the match 16-25, 25-20, 23-25, 25-23 and 15-12. 

UB struggled to put the ball down against a solid Toledo defensive and offensive game early on, dropping the first set as the Rockets came out strong. Toledo put down 16 kills compared to just eight for the Bulls.

The Bulls cranked it up in the second set, starting with a quick 5-0 lead. The Rockets pushed to close the gap throughout the set and even pulled ahead of the Bulls at one point. UB still finished strong, ending with 13 kills on the set, compared to only nine kills for Toledo. 

Senior Kristina Nieves came in swinging in the set with a couple solid kills to help UB regain the lead. She finished the night with 9 kills on a near-perfect hitting percentage.

The third set came with more pressure from the Rockets, with the score bouncing back and forth. The teams tied 17 times throughout the set but Toledo ultimately pulled ahead at the very end. 

Head coach Scott Smith kept his team motivated despite Toledo pulling ahead.

“Their best is good enough,” Smith said. “When they play a little more consistently and a little more steady and don’t step too far out of their comfort zone, we do pretty well.”

The Bulls fought through to win the final two sets, making a winning comeback. After a tough conference loss to Akron Thursday, this win was much needed and comes as their first in the conference this season.

Some key players for UB were senior Polina Prokudina, who led the team with 18 kills, followed closely by senior Rachel Sanks, who earned 11 kills for the night. Senior setter Scout McLerran orchestrated the offense, finishing with 46 assists and only one error. On the defensive side, sophomore defensive specialist Paige Beck was solid in the back row putting up 29 digs.

In preparation for their next game, Smith really wants to focus on his team’s offensive play.

“We need to make sure we’re taking good, smart swings and really taking advantage of the opportunities we have.” 

The Bulls will move on to face Miami (OH) (6-7) on the road this Friday. 

The sports desk can be reached at sports@ubspectrum.com