Volleyball winning streak approaches school record after weekend sweep

Sarah Horvath had 15 kills in three games for Buffalo State last week, 10 against Plattsburgh on Friday.

Dave DeLuca/The Record

Sarah Horvath had 15 kills in three games for Buffalo State last week, 10 against Plattsburgh on Friday.

The Buffalo State volleyball team won all three of its games this weekend in the Golden Flyer Invitational in Rochester to push its win streak to 10 – just one win shy of tying the program record set twelve years ago.

The Bengals began the tournament against Plattsburgh, a team they beat in straight sets six days earlier in SUNYAC pool play. On Friday, however, they dropped the first set, 21-25.

“The girls came out really, really flat and played bad volleyball,” head coach Maria DePeters said. “Then they picked it up, and went back to the game plan they executed the weekend before against (Plattsburgh) and then won the match.”

After winning the next three sets against Plattsburgh, 25-21, 25-14, and 25-20, Buffalo State beat Ithaca, 25-17, 25-13, and 25-15 in straight sets on Saturday, setting up a showdown with tournament host Nazareth to decide the winner of the Golden Flyer Invitational.

Heading into the match, the Bengals had to figure out a way to counter Nazareth’s formidable front line, led by junior outside hitter Kassandra Buseck.

“We were focusing on shutting down their right-side hitter (Buseck), because she was their go-to hitter,” said sophomore outside hitter Hannah Renaldo. “Usually, we start in on blocking, but for the right side we had to start a little farther out so we could line up with her shoulder to make it easier on our side for defense so we could block her.”

Buffalo State lost the first set, 20-25, before winning the next two, 25-22 and 25-21. Then, down 12-9 in the fourth set, Renaldo came through for the Bengals with a big block on Buseck that seemed to energize her team. Buffalo State went on to win the set by two points, 25-23.

“There were a couple plays like that which really sparked the excitement of the girls to push them to win the match,” DePeters said. “Nazareth was a big win for us because they were 14-4 going into that tournament, the best record of all teams in our region. That was a big regional win for us.”

The win also extended the Bengals’ win streak to 10 matches, nearing the program record of 11 straight that was set in 2001. Junior outside hitter Sam Parente, who was named MVP of the Golden Flyer Invitational and SUNYAC women’s volleyball player of the week, said communication and hard work has driven the Bengals’ recent string of strong play.

Parente also said that she didn’t even know how long the streak was – or that her team is so close to tying the program record – until a trainer brought it to her attention after reading about it on the athletics website.

“I didn’t even know about it, to be honest,” Parente said. “We don’t really pay attention to it. We just take it one game at a time.”

Renaldo, who was named to the Golden Flyer Invitational All-Tournament team, also downplayed the importance of the streak.

“We didn’t really know (about the streak) until yesterday when coach (DePeters) said something,” Renaldo said. “But we’re not really focusing on that. This (upcoming) weekend is all about winning the conference, so we don’t even think about that.”

Buffalo State (15-6, 3-0 SUNYAC) heads to New Paltz this weekend for SUNYAC play. They open the tournament on Friday at 5 p.m. against Oneonta. On Saturday at 10 a.m., they have a big matchup against New Paltz, who they’re tied for first place in the conference with, before closing out the weekend with a 12:30 p.m. match against Brockport

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