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The season of firsts

(04/01/10 4:00am)

The men's tennis team continued its winning ways at the Miller Tennis Center, blanking St. Bonaventure for its fourth-straight victory to keep its undefeated home campaign alive. After an exhausting comeback victory against Toledo on Saturday, the Bulls (8-4, 1-0 Mid-American Conference) faced off head-to-head with the Bonnies (6-6) on Sunday afternoon. Noticing the team's fatigue from the day before, Buffalo's coaching staff stepped up to give its athletes a bit of a spark. "From having such an exciting match the day before against Toledo, there was a good chance we were going to come out flat," said head coach Lee Nickell. "It was vital to make sure that the coaching staff was loud and manufactured some energy to prevent this from happening. Luckily our guys came through and had great energy." The Bulls started off the match on the right foot and didn't look back. Buffalo took the early command by declaring the doubles points in less than an hour of play. Buffalo's first doubles duo of senior Kirill Kolomyts and junior Marcelo Mazzetto cruised to an 8-1 victory against the Bonnies' Christ Post and Diego Valdenegro. The Bulls' No. 3 doubles team of freshman Vusa Hove and junior Mitch Zenaty also picked up a victory in doubles competition over St. Bonaventure's Oscar Yanez and Luis Guevara, 8-4. Sophomore Wojciech Starakiewicz and freshman George Tibil found themselves in a back-and-forth matchup against Enric Larregola and Mikhail Sudakov, but prevailed to clinch the doubles point with an 8-5 decision. Buffalo continued to overwhelm the Bonnies in singles play, winning all six matches on the afternoon Playing out of the No. 2 singles spot, Mazzetto clinched the victory for Buffalo with a 6-2, 7-6(4) victory over Larregola. Mazzetto made quick work of Larregola in the first set before Larregola came alive in the second set. Down 4-1 in the tiebreaker, Mazzetto rallied back to take six straight points to clinch the victory for Buffalo. The five other singles matches went off without a hitch for Buffalo. Competing out of the No. 5 slot, Hove blanked the Bonnies' Juan Garcia, 6-0, 6-0. Alex Kalinin retired Luis Guevara, 6-3, 6-2, while Starakiewicz needed three sets to defeat Valdenegro, 6-0,4-6, 6-1, in his first match at the No. 1 slot. Kolomyts and Tibil each won their matches in straight sets over their opponents as well. Sunday marked Buffalo's first win over St. Bonaventure since the 2006 campaign. The Bulls look to keep their undefeated home record in tact as they host defending MAC champion, Western Michigan, on Saturday at 3 p.m. "We have never beaten Western Michigan in [the] history of our program. This is obviously something we are looking forward," Nickell said. "We have them at home and [look forward] to see what's going to happen." E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


"Baseball team improves record, softball team struggles to pick up wins"

(03/23/10 4:00am)

Baseball The Bulls found success against a new opponent over the weekend. It was the first time that Buffalo's baseball team faced off against Butler and the squad won three of four games, helping improve their record to over .500 just before Mid-American Conference plays commences. Buffalo (9-8) sent senior pitcher Chaz Mye to the mound for the first of four games on Friday afternoon. The Bulls took an early lead in the top of the first inning, scoring three runs. Buffalo had runners on first and second base when senior, first baseman Rob Lawler stepped up to plate and drove in an RBI single to left field. A few batters later, senior third baseman Jacob Rosenbeck would match Lawler's hit, with a single of his own to left field, scoring two runs to put Buffalo ahead of the Bulldogs (4-8), 3-0. Senior shortstop Brad Agustin had a day to remember, driving in three consecutive runs for the Bulls. In the top of the second inning, Agustin drove a ball to deep left-center for a solo homerun and followed up with two-RBI double down the left field line in the fourth. Augustin helped increase Buffalo's lead to 6-0. The game continued at the same pace. The Bulls scored three more runs over the final three innings and let up just one run to the Bulldogs en route to a 9-1 victory. Mye received his second victory of the season while only giving up one run over six innings. Senior pitcher Brian Pullyblank pitched in relief for Mye, recording one strikeout over one inning. "[Mye] just brought his A-game to the field today," said head coach Ron Torgalski. "Also, our defense played very well behind Mye." In the night game, the Bulldogs took a large lead in the early innings, scoring seven runs in the bottom of the second. The Bulls answered back with a score of its own. The first came in the top of the fourth off the bat of senior outfielder Charlie Karstedt who hit a single to the right field earning an RBI. Butler answered Buffalo's one run by adding a pair of scores in the bottom of the fifth to extend their lead to 9-1. Karstedt would drive in another run on a sacrifice fly, but that was all that Buffalo could muster as they fell 9-2. On Saturday afternoon, the Bulls erupted in the top of the second inning, scoring six runs to get off to a good start after a disappointing outing the game before. Rosenbeck and senior outfielder Adam Skonieczki hit back-to-back doubles to put Buffalo up 1-0 and the Bulls kept the runs coming. Freshman second baseman Alex Baldock, senior outfielder Bobby Pizzuto and senior catcher Brad Cochrane each had a hit of their own, extending the lead to 6-0. The Bulldogs rallied in the seventh-inning but came up short. With a five-run deficit, Butler had runners on first and second when Butler's Corey Moylan hit a bases-clearing two-run double to deep left field, making the score 9-7. With the momentum on the Bulldogs' side, sophomore closer Kevin Crumb forced a fly out to center field for his second save of the season. Buffalo experienced a near mirror image of their morning game later that afternoon. Buffalo got out to an early 6-0 lead in the top of the second inning. The Bulls then gave up a few runs to Butler, who once again fell just short of taking the victory. Buffalo closed out Butler 9-7, winning three of four games on the weekend. Yesterday's game against Canisius was cancelled due to inclement weather. The Bulls will be back in action on Friday as they open up conference play when they host Eastern Michigan at 3 p.m. Softball After splitting games with Oakland and Coastal Carolina in the first two games of the Coastal Carolina Tournament, the softball team dropped their final three games in Myrtle Beach. The Bulls (8-16) fell to Sacred Heart (9-9) on Saturday, 4-3, and Houston Baptist (7-14), 5-2 in the nightcap. Buffalo lost again to Houston Baptist in the weekend finale on Sunday by a score of 3-0. Sacred Heart struck first on the second day of competition with a leadoff homerun by junior infielder Courtney Lee. The Bulls tied the game in the top of the second inning on a fielder's choice and proceeded to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth. The Pioneers regained the lead on a two-out, bases-clearing double by sophomore Marissa Montemagni. The Bulls scored a run in the top of the seventh on back-to-back doubles by sophomore Kristin Waldron and senior Sharon Barr to cut the deficit to one, but that's as close as the Bulls would come. Barr gave up four hits and struck out seven batters in pitching a complete game. Despite scored runs by freshman Alyssa Ward and junior Kristen Gallipani in the 2nd and 5th innings in the their afternoon game against Houston Baptist, the Bulls suffered another loss. Ward and freshman Jessica Griffin each went 2-for-3 with an RBI in the loss. Barr pitched another complete game with three strikeouts while Gallipani earned the 27th stolen base of her career to move her to third all-time at UB. In a rematch against Houston Baptist on Sunday, the Bulls started off well as Waldron led off with a single. Senior Jaime Sheffler took first base after being hit by a pitch. Both players advanced on an illegal pitch and Ward then drew a walk to load the bases, but clutch defense by the Huskies prevented any scoring. Waldron recorded Buffalo's only hit of the day. "Our defense is getting better and we are sustaining one of the top fielding percentages in the conference," said assistant coach Jessica Jones. "As far as our hitting goes, we have to make sure to be aggressive and cohesive at the plate." Due to various injuries, Barr pitched three consecutive complete games for Buffalo. Her start against Houston Baptist on Sunday was the 64th of her career, tying Buffalo's all-time record for career starts. "Barr pitched about 30 innings over four and a half games," Jones said. "She was a workhorse. When you have good pitching it's important to make sure you get timely hits, but unfortunately we were unable to get the bats going." Buffalo will try to rebound on Wednesday when they play Syracuse (12-13) at Syracuse's SU Softball Stadium. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


Bulls regain confidence in the North

(03/19/10 4:00am)

Though the Florida weather was a nice change of pace for the men's tennis team, the stiff competition served as a wakeup call for the Bulls. Buffalo (6-4) went 1-2 in three matches in Boca Raton, FL, falling to Florida Atlantic, beating Southern Illinois and losing to Troy. It returned to the North with two matches left before heading into Mid-American Conference play. The Bulls knew this would be their last chance to get in-game practice before facing their MAC foes and took advantage of the opportunity as they defeated both Robert Morris and Duquesne. "As conference play approaches, our main goal is to make the doubles play more solid[ly]," said head coach Lee Nickell. "The spring break trip was meant for us to play against really good competition outdoors. Now, it is on us to prove ourselves." Robert Morris The men's tennis team had to rebound quickly on Thursday when it returned from a three-day event in Florida to take on Robert Morris at home. The Bulls showed no signs of fatigue in their fourth match in five days when they beat the Colonials, 7-0, at the Miller Tennis Center. Wasting no time, Buffalo stormed out in the match when the No. 1 doubles pairing of sophomore Wojciech Starakiewicz and senior Kirill Kolomyts shut down their competition. The duo is ranked 10th in the Northeast Region by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and they showed why against Robert Morris team David Pinto and Igor Neves. The Bulls won the doubles point 8-0 to give the team a confidence boost early in the match. In their first pairing of the spring, junior Mitch Zenaty and senior Eric Rothstein clinched a point by defeating the Colonial pair of Grigory Sovko and Andre Coiro, 8-1. Once Buffalo clinched the doubles point in the No. 3 doubles spot, the No. 2 match was stopped as the Bulls led 5-3. Starakiewicz continued to impress when he took the court for his singles match as the sophomore downed Sovko in just over a half hour. "[Starakiewicz] stepped up after the road trip and said, ‘I want to play,'" Nickell said in a press release. "The rest of the team followed his lead." The Bulls sent out junior Marcelo Mazzetto and Kolomyts in singles action to secure the victory for Buffalo as both men notched 6-0 wins to clinch the match. The Bulls mixed up the bottom half of their lineup to give others a chance to compete at a higher seed. Nickell moved freshman Vusa Hove to the No. 4 singles spot and sophomore Kristof Custers was placed in the No. 6 spot. Sophomore Alex Kalinin stayed at his original place in the No. 5 position. Even with the changes by Nickell, all three men won in straight sets. Starakiewicz, Mazzetto and Kalinin are all tied with 11 singles wins, which are tops on the team this season. "I didn't do us any favors by scheduling this match," Nickell said. " Our team stepped up big after just having a match in Florida in the last 24 hours. I was very pleased." Duquesne Two days off served the men's tennis team well, as they were able to take fresh legs into their Saturday contest in Monroeville, Pa. The Bulls won their second straight match, 6-1, over Duquesne (7-7) in their last match before the start of Mid-American Conference play. Starakiewicz and Kolomyts shone once again when they disposed of Duquesne's duo of Steve Herchko and Mark Maciuch, 8-3. The Bulls, however, would lose their other two doubles matches to give the opening point to Duquesne. After losing the point in doubles competition, it appeared as though the Bulls were headed for a disappointing end to their spring break. Buffalo responded, however, winning all six singles matches on the day. The play of Starakiewicz and Kolomyts continued to carry the Bulls after the two picked up victories in their singles matches in straight sets. Starakiewicz, the No. 3 ranked singles player in the Northeast, defeated Duquesne senior Jeremy McClelland 6-3, 6-4, in the No. 1 position. Kolomyts defeated sophomore Aram Abgaryan 6-4, 7-5 after an intense second set. Freshman George Tibil and Kalinin each won in straight sets as well. Mazzetto defeated Duquesne's senior Gustavo Villares 6-2, 2-6, 6-2. Freshman Vusa Hove also defeated Maciuch 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in his first start in the No. 5 spot all season. With the victory, Buffalo snapped Duquesne's four-game winning streak and ended its travel-heavy spring break with a 3-2 record. The Bulls went 1-2 in Florida, before gaining victories against Robert Morris in Buffalo and in Saturday's match in Western Pennsylvania. Nickell acknowledged the importance of this spring break campaign for Buffalo. "This has been a good spring break for us," Nickell said. "We learned a lot and fought through adversity today against a good Duquesne team. We came out flat in doubles, but came together in singles to give a complete team effort. We are very excited to start conference match play in two weeks." Buffalo will rest up before starting conference play on Saturday, March 27 against Toledo (7-9). E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


Woods takes 13th in NCAA shot put

(03/17/10 4:00am)

The University at Buffalo only had one student- athlete competing at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Randall Tyson Track Center at the University of Arkansas. Sophomore thrower Kristy Woods competed in the women's shot put competition. She was among eighteen other competitors and was just the second Buffalo shot putter to compete in the NCAA National Championships. Woods's first toss turned out to be her best of the day with a distance of 52-8.50 (16.07m) to put her in fourth-place among all first rounds attempts. In her second attempt, she had a toss of 52-0.50 (15.86m) and her third toss measured a distance of 52-4 (15.95m). Woods placed 13th in a field of 19-throwers. The nine best throwers advance to the finals. Even though Woods's first attempt was her furthest toss, she fell 10.25 inches (26 centimeters) shy of the ninth-place thrower. Despite failing to advance, head coach Vicki Mitchell was satisfied with how her athlete performed. "[Throwing] coach [Jim] Garnham and I are super proud and very pleased with how well she did," Mitchell said in a press release. The last UB shot putter to compete at the NCAA National Championships was Sarah Vance in 2007. She placed 15th overall with a toss of 49-3 (15.01m). Woods beat out that toss by more than 3.5 feet. Mitchell was not surprised that Woods was successful this season and knew that she would handle the NCAA championships well because of her calm nature. "Kristy's intensity and focus is amazing," Mitchell said. "She's cool under pressure." Florida's Mariam Kevkhishvilli won the national title with a toss of 60-11.75 (18.58m).