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Bulls volleyball drops tough five-setter at MAC leading Miami (OH)


OXFORD, O.H. -- The University at Buffalo volleyball team put forth a feisty performance on the road Friday night, but unfortunately the Bulls fell just short as they lost at Miami (OH), 3-2.  The RedHawks entered the night as the top team in the Mid-American Conference.  The loss drops UB to 13-10 and 5-6 in league play. 
Miami took the match 25-15, 21-25, 29-27, 20-25, 15-12 despite Buffalo outhitting them, 223 to .193.  After falling in the first set, the Bulls fought back in the second. A bed set by the RedHawks gave UB a 16-12 lead midway through the set and a Miami attack error increased the advantage to 22-17.  Miami fought off two set points late before a kill from sophomore Andrea Mitrovic clinched it, giving the Bulls the 25-21 win.
A kill from junior Polina Prokudina opened up a 9-4 lead in the third set for the Bulls.  Buffalo continued to lead 15-12 when the RedHawks scored three straight to tie it up.  The Bulls built their lead back up to three as a kill from Rachel Sanks put UB ahead 24-21, but the Bulls were unable to close it out. Miami scored three straight to tie the set at 24-24 and UB had additional set points at 25-24, 26-25, and 27-26, but Miami fought off each one.  The RedHawks ultimately won the set, 29-27.
In the fourth set, a kill from Mitrovic put UB ahead 19-14 as the Bulls weren't going to let Miami back in it this time. A kill from Prokudina extended the lead to 23-18 and a service ace from senior Larra Bickelhauptclinched the set at 25-20, sending the match to a fifth set.
Miami opened the fifth on a 7-3 run and the Bulls were forced to fight their way back.  The RedHawks continued to lead 13-8 when back-to-back kills from Mitrovic and Kristina Nieves forced Miami to call timeout.  Out of the break UB got a block from Nieves and Mitrovic and another kill, clawing all the way back to within one at 13-12. However, the Bulls weren't able to score again as Miami recorded the final two points to clinch the set and the match.
Mitrovic led all players with 28 kills as she took 79 swings on the evening.  Nieves had 11 kills and just three errors, while senior Megan Wernette had eight kills and Prokudina added seven.  Junior setter Scout McLerran had 47 assists, six kills and 13 digs on the night.
The Bulls struggled from the service line as they had 21 errors on the night and just three aces. 
Defensively, Bickelhaupt had 25 digs to lead the Bulls.  In addition to McLerran's 13, Mitrovic and junior Hannah Watson each had eight.  UB also finished with 8.0 total blocks, led by six from Nieves, who had two solos.
The Bulls will remain on the road tomorrow when they face Bowling Green at 5pm.

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