LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell volleyball team kept pace both offensively and defensively, but could not find the ultimate answer to Lehigh, falling in three sets (25-22, 25-22, 25-21) on Saturday night in Davis Gym. The Bison made the Mountain Hawks work for every one of their points however, bringing each set down to the wire with late scoring streaks and clutch plays. The loss drops Bucknell to 6-8 overall and 0-5 in the Patriot League, while Lehigh earns a 13-5 overall mark and a 5-2 conference record with the win.
Three different Bison notched eight kills over the course of the evening, as freshman Jordan Walker, senior Kristen Titley and sophomore Karen Campbell all put forth strong offensive efforts. Campbell hit an impressive .500, while also coming through for the defense with three blocks. Senior Rose Lewis assisted on 19 of the team’s 38 kills, while sophomore Katie Price anchored the defense with 13 digs. Freshman Erika Eastley, the 29th best blocker in the country, continued to deliver with a match-high five blocks.
The teams traded points in the early part of the first set before the Mountain Hawks grabbed five of the next six to take an 8-4 lead. The Bison battled back on a Lehigh error and kills from Campbell and Lewis to come within one, but the Mountain Hawks forged ahead to take a 23-18 lead as the set wound down. A kill by senior Morgan Mientus and three Lehigh attack errors brought Bucknell within two, but the Mountain Hawks capitalized on a Bison error before contributing a kill to seal the win.
Lehigh shot out to a 4-1 lead in the second set, but the Bison never let the Mountain Hawks get too far ahead, evening the score on three different occasions, including a 12-12 tie at the midpoint. The teams exchanged points down the stretch, with Lehigh always just one or two steps ahead of Bucknell, until kills from Walker and Titley and a Mountain Hawk error knotted the score, 20-20. Lehigh took the next four points and, although Bucknell attempted to bounce back with two more kills, the Mountain Hawks clinched the 25-22 win with one of their own.
The third set played out much like the first two, with Lehigh taking an early lead and maintaining it throughout in spite of many strong surges from Bucknell. The Mountain Hawks hit .205 to take a 23-16 lead late in the set but, once again, the Bison refused to go down without a fight, proving their strength in some of the longest and most competitive rallies of the match. Bucknell scored five of the last seven points, coming within three, but a kill from Lehigh’s Amanda Clark gave the visitors the 25-21 win.
Jade Van Streepen led the Mountain Hawk offense with 16 kills, while Amy Matula handed out 40 assists. Rachel Charles handled the defense for Lehigh, contributing 18 digs.
Bucknell returns to action on Sunday afternoon with its second Patriot League match of the weekend, as the Bison head to Easton, Pa. to take on the Lafayette Leopards at 2 p.m.