BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Bucknell volleyball team got off to a strong start at the Canisius Invitational, sweeping the host Golden Griffins Friday night at the Koessler Athletic Center.
The Bison topped Canisius, 25-15, 30-28 and 31-29 to score their second sweep of the season and improve to 5-2.
In the first set, Bucknell raced out to a commanding 10-1 lead and never allowed the Golden Griffins (2-6) back within four points. The Bison ultimately closed out the set on a 6-0 run, with Sophie Bullard factoring into three of those points with two kills and one block assist.
Canisius rallied, keeping the next two sets close. The Golden Griffins kicked off the second set with a 9-4 run only to have Bucknell take the next four points to draw within one. After Canisius pulled ahead, 13-9, the Bison won four-straight points to tie the set at 13 apiece.
From that point on, the teams traded points. Later, Bucknell fought off four-straight set points to keep the Golden Griffins from evening the match at one set apiece. With the teams locked in a 28-28 tie, a Canisius service error gave the Bison set point, and Hailey Stout and Celeste Barker capped the comeback win with an emphatic block.
In the third set, the teams were tied 13 times before either reached the 20-point plateau. The Golden Griffins used a 4-0 run to build a 21-19 lead, but Bucknell responded with its own 4-0 run to pull ahead, 23-21.
This time, Canisius fought off multiple set points to extend the set; the Golden Griffins appeared poised to force a fourth set after a Sara Wesley kill gave them a 29-28 lead, but the Bison rallied to secure their sweep by winning the next three points. In that decisive run, Stout had a pair of kills and Mimi Richards posted one.
Richards (16), Barker (11) and Stout (11) all reached the double figures in kills, with Barker (.500) and Richards (.444) posting a hitting percentage north of .400. Richards also recorded a team-best five blocks (one solo).
Blake Buchholz led the way defensively with 13 digs while Alexa Bonanno (20) and Luz Nagle (18) each made it to the double digits in assists. The Bison led in service aces (7-3), blocks (7-6) and hitting percentage (.261-.255).
Bucknell continues play at the Canisius Invitational tomorrow, taking on Eastern Washington (12 p.m.) and Charlotte (2 p.m.).