UB women’s volleyball (20-5, 10-3 MAC) dropped a tough match against the Western Michigan Broncos (23-2, 13-0 MAC) on Friday night. The Bulls turned things around in their game against the Northern Illinois Huskies (8-17, 6-7 MAC) on Saturday to end the week on a high note.
UB’s lead in the Mid American Conference’s (MAC) East Division continues to grow. The Bulls' win against Northern Illinois was their 10th in MAC play, joining Western Michigan and Ball State as the only teams to have 10 or more MAC wins.
The Bulls first traveled to Read Fieldhouse in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where they came out hot to win the first set 25-23 but dropped the next three sets, losing the third and fourth sets by scores of 18-25.
UB had an all-around effort in the loss, with fifth-year middle blocker Courtney Okwara contributing a team-high 13 kills. Junior setter Mandy Leigh chipped in 46 assists but was topped by Western Michigan setter Logan Case. Junior outside hitter Maria Futey racked up 28, an impressive total despite the loss.
It was a different story in the Saturday 5 p.m. game, as Buffalo only lost a close third set to Northern Illinois by two points at Victor E. Court in DeKalb, Illinois. In a case of déjà vu from Friday’s game, UB won all three of its sets by a score of 25-18. The Bulls looked comfortable for the first three sets before coming out on top in a sloppy fourth set for both sides.
Senior outside hitter Katrin Trebichavska was first for the team in kills with 19, and Futey again had the team-high in digs with 22. Mandy Leigh dished out 55 assists in the impressive victory, as she pushed up to second on the MAC leaderboard in overall assists. Mandy Leigh remains in striking distance of first-place, only 24 assists behind the leader.
Fifth-year blocker Abby Leigh also joined teammate Okwara atop the MAC in hitting percentage, as the fifth-year remains in first and Abby Leigh is now in third with a percentage of .383. Okwara boasts an impressive percentage of .460.
Buffalo will now shift their attention to two games against the Miami RedHawks (5-20, 1-12 MAC) on Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m. The Bulls have designated Friday’s match as the International Student Game, and are then holding their senior night on Saturday. Both games can be streamed on ESPN+.
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Henry Daley is an assistant sports editor at The Spectrum. His work has featured on other platforms such as Medium and Last Word on Sports. Outside of the newspaper, he enjoys running and watching sports (when he’s not writing about them).