Bengals see improvement amidst struggles


Buffalo State Athletics

Sophomore Victoria Rigler and the Bengals will take on Fredonia, Potsdam and Oswego this weekend.

Jacob Fyock, Reporter

This season has become a rebuilding year for the Buffalo State volleyball team. They were swept this past weekend at the Fredonia Tournament, pushing their loss streak to eight.

On Friday, they faced the Hilbert Hawks. Both teams entered the contest with a sub-.500 record.

The Bengals quickly lost the first two sets, but were able to comeback by winning a close third set, 26-24, and blowing out Hilbert in the fourth set, 25-13.

The Bengals went on to play a mistake-filled fifth set, and the Hawks capitalized, taking the deciding set, 15-12.

“We just didn’t have people that were mentally tough,” Buffalo State head coach Maria DePeters said. “We made a couple of key errors, and we had people that weren’t expecting the ball to come to them. We lost points on tips over-the-block and people weren’t ready to pick those up.”

Despite the loss to Hilbert, several players had season-best performances. Sophomore setter Katherine Marte put up 36 assists and played consistent volleyball throughout.

Freshman middle hitter Bryanna Fisher was another top performer. She picked up 10 kills and four blocks.

“She is starting to get comfortable in her own body, and her arm swing is coming a long way. She is probably one of the best blockers on the team,” DePeters said.

On Saturday, the Bengals lost to both the Rochester Institute of Technology (R.I.T.) and Fredonia in four sets. The team is now 5-15 on the season and 3-11 in tournament play.

Though this year is a learning one, injuries prevent development. Freshman setter Megan Brandon suffered a concussion a couple of weeks ago against Baldwin Wallace. She has not been cleared to play, and the timetable for her return is uncertain.

“I think Megan being out is hurting the team,” DePeters said. “She was a big back bone, and I think for such a young team, she probably came in with the most knowledge of the sport and playing at such a high level. She lives, breathes and eats volleyball, so I think a lot of people look up to Meg on the court.”

Another factor is the high abundance of youth among the team. DePeters realizes she doesn’t have a lot of experience on the team, but feels like the team is improving every game.

“We are such a young team, and of lot of these girls haven’t played this competitively at all for this program,” she said. “So now, it’s just over the halfway mark of the season and they’re really starting to click and put things together, which is great to see.”

DePeters has seen progression from many players.

“A lot of other aspects of our team have come a long way in the last two weeks. I think our defense has been phenomenal, I think our blocking is starting to get better,” DePeters said.

Next week, the team will travel to Oswego and will face three SUNYAC opponents in Fredonia, Oswego and Potsdam. DePeters is looking forward to the second round of conference matches.

“Our two losses on Saturday were okay because we were doing so many good things, so that’s all I can ask for out of a team,” she said. “We have to rely on young kids to make the knowledgeable plays. I just hope they keep listening and doing what we want them to do and growing.”

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