Courtesy of Home MAC Athletic Communication Departments
Toledo 3, Ball State 1
Buffalo 3, Akron 2
TOLEDO, OH - Senior OH Lauren Rafdal erupted for a career-high 28 kills to lead Toledo (8-8, 1-2 MAC) to a 3-1 (29-27, 25-21, 20-25, 25-19) triumph over MAC West Division leader Ball State (14-4, 2-1 MAC). The victory ended the Cardinals’ 11-match win streak and was UT’s first over BSU since 2008.
Rafdal was red-hot from the start as she opened the match with nine terminations in Set 1 followed by six in both Sets 2 and 3 and seven more in the final set. Rafdal’s kill total was two shy of the UT record, and she was joined in double figures by senior MB Dakota Harkins (11 kills) and senior OH Jordan Kielty (10 kills).
Senior S Adria Pryor quarterbacked the Rocket attack and tallied 55 assists to go along with a career-high seven blocks. Pryor’s play at the net helped Toledo notch a 12-7 edge in blocks. Toledo registered a .239 attack percentage and limited BSU to a .177 hitting mark.
Freshman libero Ellen Hays keyed Toledo’s defensive efforts in the back row with a season-high 31 digs. Kielty was also in double digits with 17 digs for a double-double.
Sophomore OH Alex Fuelling led the Cardinals with 16 kills, while sophomore MB Hayley Benson contributed 13 kills and a team-best .429 ATK%.
The Rockets bounced back from an early 10-7 deficit in the opening set and took a four-point lead, 20-16, following two blocks and a pair of Rafdal kills. UT eventually stretched its lead to 23-19, only to see BSU even the match at 24-24. The Rockets were able to regroup though and took an early lead in the match thanks to kills from Pryor and Kielty.
Toledo carried its momentum into the second set and led by as many as five points, only to see Ball State rally to even the score at 17. BSU took its first lead of the set at 19-18 following a Toledo attack error, but the Rockets quickly regained control with three straight points. Rafdal closed out the set with a pair of kills.
UT started well in Set 3 and led 5-3 before the visitors scored five straight points to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. BSU extended its lead to 20-12 before the Rockets cut their deficit to 21-17. It was a little too late for Toledo though as BSU held on for the win.
The Rockets never trailed in Set 4 after surging in front by a 7-3 margin. The Cardinals battled back to within a point at 13-12 but a kill and ace from senior RSH Becca Reidy put UT back in control. The Rockets then extended their advantage to 23-15 before closing out the match with a Rafdal kill.
UT is back in action on Saturday, Oct. 5 when it hosts MAC East Division foe Akron at 7:30 p.m.
BUFFALO, NY - Sophomore Tahleia Bishop had a night that no University at Buffalo volleyball player has had in the last decade, recording career highs of 21 kills and 20 digs, as the Bulls overcame a two-set deficit, defeating Akron, 3-2, Thursday night at Alumni Arena. The win improves UB's record to 14-2 on the season and 2-1 in the Mid-American Conference.
The Bulls took the match, 25-27, 18-25, 25-22, 25-18, 15-10 as they narrowly outhit Akron, .222 to .202. The victory was UB's first in five sets this season.
UB nearly staged a huge comeback in the opening set as Akron led 24-21 and had three set points. However, senior Kaja Schirmer kept the Bulls in it with her serving and after a pair of UB blocks, the set was tied at 24-24. The Bulls took a 25-24 lead in the set before Akron scored the final three points. The Zips then went on to take the second set 25-18 as UB found itself in a 2-0 hole heading to the break.
As the third set began, a new energy found its way into Alumni Arena and the Bulls took full advantage of it. The Zips held a late lead in the third set at 18-15, but the Bulls would fight back and tie the match at 19-19. With the set remaining tied at 22-22, a block from sophomores Amber Hatchett and Akeila Lain and a kill from Bishop put UB one point away from the set. An Akron attack error ended the set in UB's favor.
The Bulls raced out to an early 7-1 lead in the fourth set, but a quick 9-3 run from the Zips tied it up at 10-10. The Bulls answered back though and six straight points, capped off on a kill from Hatchett, gave UB a 16-10 lead. UB held at least a four-point lead for the remainder of the set and won it 25-18, sending the match into a pivotal fifth set.
The two teams traded the lead back and forth early, but with the set tied at 6-6, UB scored two straight on a kill from senior Dana Musil and a block from Lain and Schirmer, giving the Bulls an 8-6 lead at the switchover. The Zips pulled within 8-7, but UB answered with a set-changing 5-0 run, capped off on a service ace from Musil. Akron would pull back within 13-10, but back-to-back kills from Bishop would put the finishing touches on one of the biggest comebacks in the Coach Kress era.
"We can thank the crowd for the win tonight and the energy that they brought into the gym," said head coach Todd Kress. "We have to find a way to start matches quicker, especially as we head on the road. But with that said, I am proud of the way our team fought back to win this evening."
Bishop became only the eighth different player in school history to record 20 kills and 20 digs in the same match, and the first to do so since the NCAA changed the scoring structure to the current 25-point set. The last UB player to have a 20/20 night was Molly Schrantz against Canisius on Oct. 1, 2003. Bishop also added five total blocks and a service ace. Bishop was at her best when the Bulls needed her late, as she had just one error over the final two sets and recorded six kills and no errors on eight swings in the fifth set.
Two other players finished in double figures in kills as Musil had 12 kills and junior Liz Scott finished with 10 kills and just one error on 31 swings. Hatchett and senior Christine Fritsche added seven kills a piece. As a team, UB had a season-high 60 assists, led by 30 from senior Dani Reinert and 26 from junior Taylor Pritchett.
Defensively, UB recorded a season-high 82 digs, with 50 coming from two players. In addition to Bishop's 20, senior Kelly Svoboda added a match-high 30 digs, her second straight 30-dig match. Reinert added nine digs.
The Bulls had 12 total blocks, led by a career-high seven total blocks from Schirmer, including a solo. Bishop added five and Hatchett and Lain each had four.
UB will now head on the road for the better part of October as it begins a stretch of eight of 10 away from Alumni Arena. That stretch begins on Saturday night at Ball State. Match time is set for 7:00 pm.