WVU volleyball heads to WNY Invitational

Gold and Blue Nation

The Mountaineers (5-0) travel to Buffalo, New York, for a two-day tournament on Sept. 10-11. West Virginia will face American (3-3) on Friday, Sept. 10, at noon ET., at Alumni Arena. WVU then faces co-host Canisius (0-6) on Friday, at 6 p.m., at Koessler Athletic Center. The squad will close out the tournament with a match against co-host Buffalo (3-3) on Saturday, Sept. 11, at 10 a.m., at Alumni Arena. Live streams and live stats for the matches can be found on WVUsports.com

“We are coming off a good weekend,” said coach Reed Sunahara. “We are looking forward to playing at Buffalo and Canisius this weekend. We will play against those teams and American. We have to keep working hard.” 

WVU and American will meet for the third time in program history on Friday. In their last meeting in 1995, the Mountaineers swept the Eagles. WVU holds a 2-0 series record. 

West Virginia will square up with Canisius for the fourth time in program history. The Mountaineers beat the Golden Griffins in three sets in 2013, and WVU holds the series record, 3-0. 

For the 10th time in program history, West Virginia will play Buffalo, holding a 9-0 series advantage over the Bulls. In their last meeting, WVU swept UB in 2013.  

Last weekend, the Mountaineers took home a pair of wins at the Navy Tournament on Sept. 3-4. WVU swept No. 23 Michigan in its first match from Friday, Sept. 3., at the Wesley A. Brown Field House, in Annapolis, Maryland. The Mountaineers beat No. 23-ranked Wolverines (2-1) in set scores of 25-21, 25-19 and 25-18. Senior outside hitters Kristin Lux and Natali Petrova led the squad with 12 kills apiece against Michigan. Fifth-year senior middle blocker Briana Lynch recorded a season-high seven blocks, while fifth-year senior defensive specialist Alexa Hasting recorded 18 digs. Senior setter Lacey Zerwas recorded a match-high 38 assists. In the win over Michigan, the Mountaineers posted 45 kills for a .278 hitting efficiency, along with 10 team blocks. 

WVU recorded its fifth sweep of the season against Navy in the final match of the Navy Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 4, when the Mountaineers (5-0) beat the Mids (3-3) in set scores of 25-15, 25-19 and 25-19. Lynch recorded 15 kills, one short of her season high, while also recording five blocks. Hasting added 15 digs, and Zerwas recorded a match-high 29 assists and five digs. Lux and Petrova each tallied six kills and two blocks apiece against Navy. To wrap up the Mountaineers stats for the weekend, fifth-year senior setter Adrian Ell recorded seven kills, along with six digs to tie her season-high. Overall, the Mountaineers posted 40 kills for a .267 hitting efficiency, along with six team blocks in the win.
Fridays win over No. 23 Michigan marked coach Reed Sunahara’s 400th career win. Currently in his seventh season at WVU, the Hilo, Hawaii, native has coached at Toledo, Cincinnati and Buffalo, before being named West Virginia’s head coach in 2015. 

As a team, the Mountaineers rank in the top-25 in the NCAA in four categories, including hitting percentage (18th/.296), opponent hitting percentage (eighth/.095), blocks per set (25th/2.81) and service aces per set (t-sixth/2.38).  

Individually, Lynch ranks first in the Big 12 in two categories. She recorded an average .490 hitting efficiency per set, along with 1.56 blocks per set. Her hitting percentage ranks 12th in the NCAA, and her blocks rank 16th overall. She holds third place in points with 4.59 per set and fourth place with 3.75 kills per set. Lynch recorded a season-high seven blocks against Michigan.  

Zerwas moved into first place in the Big 12 and 26th in the NCAA’s with 173 assists averaging 10.81 per set. Sophomore outside hitter Skye Stokes moved up to first in the Big 12, averaging .67 service aces per set and she is followed by Ell in second, averaging .63 per set.  

Hasting also moved up to first in the Big 12 with an average of 4.81 digs per set.  

Looking ahead, the Mountaineers will return to Morgantown for a three-match tournament, from Sept. 16-17, at the WVU Coliseum. West Virginia welcomes George Washington, UMBC, RMU and Penn State to the Mountaineer Invitational, as the squad squares off with George Washington on Thursday, Sept. 16 at 12:30 p.m. before facing the UMBC on Thursday at 5 p.m. Saturday’s finale will be a showdown between the WVU and Penn State at 7 p.m. 

For more information on the Mountaineers, visit WVUsports.com and follow WVUVolleyball on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

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