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UB volleyball notches Senior Night victory for program-record ninth conference win


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo volleyball team won their fourth straight match on Thursday night as the Bulls swept their opponent for the third consecutive contest, notching a 3-0 win over Akron on Senior Night.  The victory improves the Bulls to 17-10 and 9-6 in MAC play.  The nine wins are a new program record for wins in a year. 
The Bulls took the contest 25-20, 25-21, 25-19 as Buffalo outhit Akron, .325 to .213.  The Bulls raced out to a 7-1 lead in the opening set following a kill from junior Rachel Sanks and UB extended its lead to 11-4 following a kill from sophomore Andrea Mitrovic, forcing Akron to use its second time out.  A kill from junior Kristina Nieves put UB ahead 19-8, and despite a late Akron comeback, a kill by Mitrovic clinched the opening set, 25-20.
Despite hitting .514 in the second set, the Bulls found themselves trailing midway through the set as Akron held on to a 16-13 lead.  The Bulls were able to answer with three straight points tying the set up following a Mitrovic kill.  The set remained tied at 20-20 when the Bulls scored two straight to pull ahead and with UB leading 22-21, Buffalo scored the final three points to clinch the set and take a 2-0 lead in the match.
The Bulls lead throughout the third, building their lead up to 19-11 following a Mitrovic kill.  Akron was able to pull within 21-17 late, but a kill from Sanks put them back ahead 24-18.  On senior night, it was only fitting that Megan Wernette got the final kill to clinch the match.
Buffalo finished with four players in double figures in kills led by 15 from Mitrovic.  Junior Polina Prokudina had one of her best matches of the season as she finished with 12 kills and just one error, hitting .647 on the night.
Sanks had 11 kills and just two errors, while Wernette finished her senior night with 10 kills, hitting .421.  Nieves added six kills on the evening.
Sophomore Tia Gleason dished out 46 assists in the three-set match, averaging just over 15.0 assists per set, while adding a pair of service aces and six digs.
Defensively, Mitrovic had a team-high 13 digs, while senior Larra Bickelhaupt finished with 12 digs in her final home match. Freshman Paige Beck added eight.
The Bulls also had 6.0 blocks as a team, led by five from Nieves, including a solo.
Senior Raven Jordan made her first appearance of the season on her senior night, seeing action in both the first and third sets.
Buffalo will hit the road to close out the regular season on Saturday afternoon when they face Toledo at 3pm.  A win for the Bulls would clinch a first round bye in the upcoming MAC Tournament.

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