In its last trip before Mid-American Conference (MAC) play, the UB women’s volleyball team (10-2) finished this weekend’s Red Storm Invitational 2-1 after squaring up against No. 16-ranked Arkansas (10-2), Columbia (2-7) and St. John’s (8-4).
UB started the Queens-based tournament with a 3-0 loss to Arkansas. The Bulls came closest to winning a set in the second, when they lost by a score of 25-19.
The last time the program faced a nationally ranked team was in 2018, when the Penn State Nittany Lions swept UB 3-0. Despite losing in three sets, fifth-years Courtney Okwara and Abby Leigh tallied five kills, while graduate outside hitter Maurine Calande racked up five kills and nine digs. Junior setter Mandy Leigh once again recorded double-digit assists, managing 16, alongside two blocks and 11 digs.
Despite Arkansas’ formidable performance, the Bulls managed to hold their own during parts of the game, and turned that loss around with double sweeps on Saturday, beating John Jay, 3-0 and St. John’s, 3-1.
Against Columbia, Mandy Leigh ran the court with 27 assists while racking up 10 digs, while her sister, Abby Leigh, earned eight kills and three blocks, adding to her solid weekend. Senior outside/right side Stacia Gollogy recorded eight kills with one block. Sophomore outside Lauren Otten also had an impressive game, tallying seven kills with two digs. On defense, junior Libero Maria Futey totaled 17 digs, and senior right side Emma Gielas made seven.
As for their match against St. John, the Bulls dropped the first set 25-21. But that loss galvanized UB to come back for a 3-1 win, which was made possible by Mandy Leigh and senior outside Katrin Trebichavska. Trebichavska had 11 kills, three aces, seven digs and one assist, while Mandy Leigh had 38 assists and 7 digs.
Okwara and Futey were awarded All-Tournament honors due to their performances. Okwara finished the weekend with 17 kills, two digs and nine blocks, six coming from the game against St. John’s. Futey finished with 36 digs, 13 assists and even one kill.
The team will have their first MAC game of the season on Sept. 22 against Kent State (4-7) in Kent, Ohio. The first serve is at 6 p.m.
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