BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The senior class combined for 41 kills and fittingly powered the Bucknell volleyball team to a 3-1 (25-27, 25-20, 29-27, 25-18) win over Lafayette on Senior Day at Davis Gym on Saturday. The Bison improve to 10-15 overall and 3-12 in Patriot League action with the triumph, while the Leopards drop to 10-15 and 2-12 in conference play with the loss.
“I think that was a great way to play our last match in Davis Gym,” said head coach Anna Allison. “It was a good match. Both teams battled, there were great rallies, and I think it was a testament to the fact that our team knows how to fight. This senior class knows how to play in tight matches, and when they do that we come out on top. I’m so happy we were able to earn a win for them, as I know how much our team is going to miss them.”
Senior Kristen Titley led the way for Bucknell, producing a match-high 20 kills on 37 attempts for a .378 hitting percentage. Senior Morgan Mientus and sophomore Karen Campbell were also strong on the attack, tallying 11 and 10 kills respectively. Sophomore Meghan Wentzel contributed 26 assists, while Mientus’ 20 digs and Campbell’s six blocks provided the foundation for a strong defensive performance.
Karissa Ciliento was Lafayette’s top attacker with 17 kills, while Samantha Volk provided 42 assists for the offense. Libero Lauren Pisauro aided the defense with 22 digs, while Kelly Flynn was the team’s top blocker, making five stops.
Lafayette put forth its only winning performance of the night in the first set, but it took extra points to lift the Leopards past Bucknell. The visiting team controlled play in the early part of the set, taking an 11-5 lead, but three consecutive kills by Titley sparked a 5-1 run that brought the Bison within two. Lafayette responded with four points to build an advantage of six, but 11 of the next 13 points belonged to Bucknell, giving them a 21-18 edge. The teams engaged in a fierce battle down the stretch, tying things up on three different occasions and forcing extended play, but an attack error on the Bison and two kills from the Leopards gave the visitors a 27-25 win.
A determined Bucknell squad took control of the second set from the beginning, taking a 1-0 lead on a kill from Campbell and never looking back. A kill by Mientus gave the Bison an eight-point edge at 17-9, but the Leopards slowly came creeping back, cutting the lead down to three at 21-18. Lafayette challenged until the very last points, but a service ace from freshman Rebecca Forbes and two more kills from Campbell sealed Bucknell’s 25-20 victory and tied the match 1-1.
The third set proved to be another drawn out battle, as the squads once again needed extra points to determine a winner, but this time things ended in favor of the Bison. The Leopards experienced success early on, playing to a 16-5 advantage, but Bucknell pushed back firmly, scoring seven of the next nine points to slice the lead to four. The teams exchanged points, with Lafayette maintaining a slight edge, but a well-timed kill by freshman Jordan Walker tied things up 23-23. The Bison played with composure in a fiercely competitive ending, allowing Titley to connect on two consecutive kills to earn the 29-27 win for Bucknell.
The teams kept things close in the beginning of the fourth set, with the Bison able to stay just slightly ahead of the Leopards, but a four-point streak allowed Bucknell to open up a 17-11 advantage over the visitors. Lafayette pushed back, coming within three at 21-18, but the next four points belonged to Bucknell, as two more kills from Titley gave the Bison a 25-18 win and the match victory.
Bucknell will hit the road next weekend for its final match of the 2013 regular season, traveling to Baltimore, Md., for a 4 p.m. contest at Loyola on Saturday, Nov. 16.