ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Moments of brilliance highlighted the match, but the Bucknell volleyball team was defeated by Navy in a three-set contest at the Wesley A. Brown Fieldhouse on Saturday evening. The Bison drop to 9-14 overall and 2-11 in the Patriot League with the loss, while the Mids improve to 12-12 and 8-4 in conference action.
“It was a hard-fought match,” said head coach Anna Allison. “Navy had a very solid night and although we had sparks of greatness, it was not enough to ignite us and help us take the match.”
Sophomore Karen Campbell and freshman Jordan Walker each tallied six kills for the Bison, while senior Rose Lewis aided the offense with 12 assists. Sophomore Katie Price notched a match-high 21 digs to lead Bucknell’s defensive efforts, and freshman Erika Eastley chipped in with six blocks, also a match-high.
Navy’s Erin Fortner led the team’s offense and defense, completing a double-double with 12 kills and 11 digs. Alex Karika tallied 32 assists, and Alex Cassel contributed five blocks.
The Bison played to a 5-4 lead early in the first set of the match, but the Mids responded quickly, embarking on a 10-3 run and building a six-point edge over the visitors. Back-to-back kills by Eastly and senior Morgan Mientus allowed Bucknell to draw within striking distance, but Navy extended its lead on an even mixture of kills and attacking errors by the Bison, taking the 25-18 win on a spike by Katie Sylakowski.
A supremely even second set needed extra points to determine a winner, but the Mids gained a 2-0 lead in the match after eking out a 28-26 win. Strong hitting in the middle of the set gave Bucknell a solid 19-13 lead, but Navy came storming back, scoring ten unanswered points to jump ahead by four. The Bison refused to make it easy for the Midshipmen however, capitalizing on the errors of their opponents to come within one. A kill by Cassel brought Navy to set point, but her squad followed that up with three attack errors to give Bucknell a 25-24 lead. Fortner evened the score with a kill, and then handed the point back to the Bison with an error, but two kills and an ace gave the Mids the set victory.
Navy seemed determined to end things in three, grabbing a 16-9 lead in the final set of the night and denying repeated pushes by Bucknell down the stretch. A kill by Walker brought the Bison within five, but that is as close as they would get, as each team committed a series of errors as the match drew to a conclusion, allowing Navy to secure the 25-16 win.
Bucknell will play a 7:00 p.m. game at Lehigh on Friday, Nov. 8 before returning to Davis Gym on Saturday, Nov. 9 to celebrate Senior Day with a 5 p.m. match against Lafayette.