LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell volleyball topped its comeback from the previous day with an even better one on Saturday erasing a 2-0 deficit for a 3-2 win over visiting Iona on the second day of the Bucknell Invitational at Davis Gym. The Bison had to rally from a 14-11 deficit in the final set and went on to prevail by scores of 25-27, 22-25, 27-25, 25-20, 17-15,
The Bison improved to 2-0, including a win over La Salle in the season opener after falling behind 2-1 on Friday. They will wrap up play at the Bucknell Invitational against Saint Peter’s on Sunday at noon.
Bucknell trailed 14-11 in the final set before reeling off four straight points to not only stay alive, but take a one-point advantage. The run started with an attack error by Iona and was followed by back-to-back blocks. Senior Celeste Barker and sophomore Sophie Bullard teamed up for the first one, while Barker teamed with senior Hailey Stout on the second.
Stout stepped up big again on the next point with a huge kill to put Bucknell up 15-14. Iona responded to tie it up, but the Bison scored the final two points on kills by Bullard and Barker to stay unbeaten in the invitational. Senior Luz Nagle assisted on each of the final two kills. After splitting time at setter on Friday, she took over the position on Saturday and came through with a career-high 51 assists.
The Gaels, who dropped to 1-2 overall, outlasted the Bison for a 27-25 win in set one and then erased a 20-20 deficit with five of the final seven points to take a commanding lead with a victory in set two.
Bucknell’s comeback in the final set was impressive, but its rally in the third set was just as important. The Bison staved off defeat on three separate serves on its way to a 27-25 win. They trailed 24-22 before tying the match on consecutive attack errors by the Gaels. They faced defeat again trailing 25-24 but scored the next three points on back-to-back kills by Stout and a set-clinching block by junior Blake Buchholz and sophomore Mimi Richards.
The fourth set was the one point in the match that Bucknell held control. The Bison never trailed after tying the match at 11-11 and went on to win 25-20.
Bucknell continued to play tough at the net, tallying 14 blocks and are averaging 14.5 through the first two matches. Barker had one solo block and seven assists, while Richards and Stout had six and five block assists, respectively.
Bullard posted her second straight double-double and also led the team in kills for the second straight match, finishing with 17 in addition to 16 digs and four block assists. Buchholz also recorded a double-double with 11 kills and 18 digs. Adding double-digit kills were Stout and Richards with 10 apiece.
The Bison are 2-0 to open the season for the first time since 2012.
Claire Archibald led Iona with 22 kills, 11 digs and eight aces. Tess Connolly had 14 kills, and Jamie Smith finished with 13 kills.