BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Bucknell volleyball team battled through another challenging league match on Friday evening, suffering a 3-0 (25-16, 25-8, 25-20) setback to Lehigh at the Leeman-Turner Arena. The Bison drop to 9-15 overall and 2-12 in the Patriot League with the loss, while the Mountain Hawks improve to 19-7 overall and 10-4 in conference play with the triumph.
“Tonight’s match was a tough one,” said head coach Anna Allison. “Lehigh played great. They were very consistent and they serve very well in their gym. They have a big home court advantage. We started to play well late in the match, and I hope that will build up our momentum for tomorrow.”
Senior Morgan Mientus led the Bison with nine kills, while classmate Kristen Titley added eight kills of her own to the team’s attack. Sophomore Meghan Wentzel tallied nine assists over the course of three sets, while senior Rose Lewis’ seven digs and sophomore Karen Campbell’s two blocks were big factors in Bucknell’s defense.
Kaylynn Genemaras, Lehigh’s top attacker in the match, registered nine kills, while three additional Mountain Hawks each tallied eight. Amy Matula, the team’s setter, contributed 33 assists, and Rachel Charles, who had 13 digs, anchored a defense that made eight total blocks.
Lehigh jumped out to a 12-4 lead in the night’s first set before committing a series of errors that brought Bucknell within four. Both Titley and Mientus snuck in kills for the Bison, but strong hitting by the Mountain Hawks kept them just out of reach. Bucknell narrowed the home team advantage to six down the stretch, but three consecutive kills gave Lehigh the 25-16 win.
Bucknell was first on the board in the second set, keeping pace with Lehigh in the early minutes of play, but a 14-2 run by the Mountain Hawks, spurred by a .481 hitting percentage, put the Bison down 17-5. Mientus answered with three kills for Bucknell, but Lehigh turned in eight points of its own in the same time frame to take a 25-8 victory in the second set.
The match’s third set featured the closest battle of the evening, with Bucknell taking the early 3-1 lead on kills by freshman Rebecca Forbes, senior Jessica Serrato and sophomore Karen Campbell. A kill and three attack errors on the Bison helped the Mountain Hawks claim a two-point lead, but Bucknell battled back steadily, tying the game on five different occasions before taking a 13-12 lead on an attack error by Lehigh. The teams continued to battle back and forth down the stretch, tying things up again at 18-18, but Lehigh ended the set on a 7-2 run, taking the 25-20 win and the match.
The Bison will return to action on Saturday evening when they welcome the Lafayette Leopards to Davis Gym for a 5 p.m. Senior Day match.