Toledo Moves Into First Place in MAC West Division with 3-2 Triumph at Buffalo
BUFFALO, NY – Toledo gained sole possession of first-place in the Mid-American Conference’s West Division by pulling out a 3-2 (25-21, 25-27, 25-17, 19-25, 17-15) triumph at Buffalo. The victory extended the Rockets’ win streak to seven matches and moved UT a game ahead of second-place Ball State, which lost at Akron this evening, with just one week remaining in the regular season.
Toledo’s victory improved its league ledger to 11-3 and 18-10 overall. The Rockets' 11 MAC wins are the most in program history and their current .643 winning percentage is the best any volleyball squad has registered. UT also kept alive its perfect record in five-set matches as the Rockets are now a perfect 9-0 when matches go the distance.
"I'm really proud of how we hung in there against very good Buffalo team that made us earn each and every point," said Head Coach Greg Smith, whose squad is bidding to win UT's first division title ever. "There defense was impressive but we were able to come up with key points when we needed to. We're continuing to get better every match, and that's been our mindset the entire season."
Senior OH Lauren Rafdal paced a balanced Rocket offense with 18 kills with senior OH Becca Reidy contributing 16 kills. The Rockets also received strong offensive contributions from its middle blockers as senior Dakota Harkins and junior Brooke Frazer each garnered 10 terminations and posted .417 and .300 attack marks, respectively.
Freshman libero Ellen Hays spearheaded the Rockets’ defensive efforts with 22 digs and in the prowith Rafdal collecting a career-high 21 digs. Also in double figures for digs were senior S Adria Pryor (16 digs), senior OH Jordan Kielty (12 digs) and freshman DS Maggie Johnston (season-high 12 digs). Frazer provided a solid defensive effort at the net with a team-high five blocks.
Hays now has 511 digs this season which breaks former Rocket Lora Sarich's total of 508 in the 2005 campaign. Rafdal also moved into third place on UT's season kill list with 444 kills, ahead of Kate Bean (435 in 2005) and Rachel Mohler (431 in 2004).
In addition to registering 49 assists, Pryor tied her career high with four kills and tied for the team lead with two service aces. One key to the Rockets’ win was committing just one service error compared the Bulls’ total of eight.
Sophomore OH Tahleia Bishop led Buffalo with a match-high 25 kills, with senior libero Kelly Svoboda garnering an amazing 43 digs.
Toledo fell behind early in the final set by a 4-1 margin but responded with a 6-2 run take a 7-6 lead. Two Kielty kills and a Harkins winner capped off the spurt. Rafdal kills provided the Rockets with 11-9 and 12-10 leads later in the set, but the Bulls rallied with three straight points to take a 13-12 advantage. Kills from Radal and Kielty then gave the Midnight Blue and Gold a 14-13 edge but the Bulls blocked Reidy to even the score. A Frazer kill gave Toledo its second match point, but Bishop knotted the score again. The Rockets wrapped up the match when attacks from Kielty and Harkins each found the floor.
Toledo closes out its regular season next weekend with matches at Western Michigan on Friday, Nov. 15 and Northern Illinois on Saturday, Nov. 16. The 2013 MAC Tournament will be held at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, OH on Friday-Sunday, Nov. 22-24.