Petrova 1

Natalie Petrova celebrates a point earlier this season

The West Virginia volleyball team began the Buffalo/Canisius tournament on Friday at the Buffalo Alumni Center, winning its first two matches of the tournament. 

WVU (7-0) won all three sets in the first match against American (4-4) by the score of 25-16 in the first set, 25-15 in the second set and 25-19 in the third set. 

The Mountaineers played their final match of the day against Canisius (0-7) at and swept all three sets by scores of 25-23 in the first set, 25-17 in the second set and 25-14 in the third set.

The Mountaineers scored all 75 possible points in both matches Friday, and have now extended their winning streak to seven games, with still only one set loss so far this season. 

“It was a good day for us,” head coach Reed Sunahara said. “Tonight was a good match and Canisius played well. We have a long way to go, but we are getting better with every opponent. I thought our defense made a difference after the first set.” 

Against the American Eagles, the Mountaineer offense was strong, with senior outside hitter Natali Petrova accounting for 14 points on 11 kills with a 20 percent hitting percentage. 

Senior middle blocker Briana Lynch also performed well, amassing nine kills on a 36 percent hitting percentage and five blocks.

Senior setter Lacey Zerwas also had 33 assists, which puts her above 200 on the season, at 241, along with four blocks.

Defensively, senior defensive specialist Alexa Hasting also recorded 16 digs.

In this match, American kept it close with the Mountaineers but couldn’t pull out a set win.

For the Eagles, sophomore outside hitter Katie Putney recorded 10 kills on a 45 percent hitting percentage and five blocks.

Junior setter Inbal Peleg also contributed nine assists and defensively, sophomore middle blocker Allie Burke and senior libero Fanny Ahman had six blocks and 12 digs, respectively.

Against Canisius in the second match, WVU’s Petrova stole the show as well, scoring 18.5 points with 14 kills on a 27 percent hitting percentage as well as a team high four service aces.

Lynch also made her presence felt against the Golden Griffins, recording 11 kills on a 46 percent hitting percentage, and five blocks.

Zerwas was essential to the Mountaineers’ success, recording 35 assists and 11 digs, both a team high in this match.

For Canisius, it was competitive on offense, but couldn’t keep up with West Virginia down the stretch.

The Golden Griffins had six kills each from senior middle hitter Camila Vazquez and junior outside hitter Ella Loussia as well as 10 assists and three service aces from senior setter Callie Chamulak.

Defensively, two key contributors were junior libero Bree Long and junior middle hitter Elle Shult who had 10 digs and five blocks respectively.

The Mountaineers’ last match of the tournament will be against the hometown team, the Buffalo Bulls, on Saturday. The match will begin at 10 a.m.