NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – Bucknell volleyball wrapped up a 2-1 weekend at Central Connecticut State’s Blue Devil Classic by splitting a pair of matches on Saturday. The Bison fell 3-1 to the host Blue Devils before sweeping Fairfield.
Bucknell opened the tournament on Friday with a sweep of NJIT. The Bison have already shown their improvement over last season, when they didn’t pick up their second win of the season until the 10th match following tough competition at numerous tournaments.
Seniors Karen Campbell and Meghan Wentzel were named to the All-Tournament Team for the Bison. Campbell had 31 kills (3.1/set) on the weekend with an eye-popping .371 hitting percentage. She added two solo blocks and seven block assists. Wentzel tallied 100 assists (10.0/set), six kills, 23 digs and four block assists.
"Overall it was a good day for us," said Bucknell head coach Anna Allison. "We are working together and learning to create a rhythm. That's the challenge after three weeks of playing against each other in practice. The season just started, and I am proud of our effort and how we finished the weekend."
The Bison will be back on the road on Friday and Saturday when they play two matches at Sacred Heart’s Hampton Inn Shelton Invitational. They will play Brown at 7 p.m. on the first day and Hartford at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Bucknell 3, Fairfield 0
The Bison concluded the tournament with its second sweep in as many days, winning by scores of 25-20, 26-24, 25-22. The victory came over a Stags team that had won the MAAC Championship and qualified for the NCAA Tournament in two of the past three seasons.
Sophomore Hailey Stout and freshman Stephanie Occhiogrosso paced Bucknell’s offensive attack with 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Stout added 12 digs, while freshman Blake Buchholz led the team with 13 and Hana Sawanobori contributed 11. Wentzel tallied 30 assists.
The Bison trailed 24-23 in the second set before scoring the final three points to go up 2-0 in the match. Campbell tied the set with a kill, and freshman Jamie Risdal closed it with back-to-back kills.
Central Connecticut State 3, Bucknell 1
The host team beat Bucknell by scores of 25-19, 19-25, 27-25, 25-20, and then went on to sweep NJIT in its final match to finish a perfect 3-0 and win the tournament. The Blue Devils were led by Raquel Quirate with 20 kills and Makenna Lommori with 46 assists and 14 digs.
After tying the match with a win in the second set, Bucknell put together a huge comeback in the third set and nearly took control of the match. The Bison erased a 17-10 deficit and tied the match at 23-23. After the teams traded points to knot the score at 25, CCSU squashed Bucknell’s attempt with the final two points.
Campbell had another impressive performance for the Bison, leading the team with 14 kills on a .355 hitting percentage. Risdal was efficient again with six kills on just 12 attacks and one error. She finished the tournament with 14 kills on just 26 attempts and a .385 hitting percentage. Buchholz had 13 kills and 15 digs, while Stout added nine kills and led the team with 18 digs.
Wentzel was in on nearly every point for the Bison. She tallied 40 assists on the team’s 45 kills.