LEWISBURG, Pa. – It took five sets and then extra points in the final set, but Bucknell pulled out a thrilling 3-2 (27-25, 17-25, 25-16, 13-25, 23-21) win over visiting Holy Cross on Saturday in a Patriot League volleyball match at Davis Gym.
Bucknell evened its records at 10-10 overall and 4-4 in the Patriot League, remaining in fifth place in the league standings. Holy Cross dropped to 3-18 overall and 0-8 in the conference. The Bison are now 5-4 against the Crusaders in Anna Allison’s five seasons as head coach.
Sophomore Mimi Richards came up with a big performance on her birthday, tallying 15 kills on .444 hitting and seven total blocks. She upped her season block assist total to 98, good enough for second on Bucknell’s single-season list. Richards needs just eight more to break the program record of 105 set by Melissa Wharton in 1996.
Senior Hailey Stout shared the team lead in kills with 15, while sophomore Sophie Bullard finished with nine kills and eight digs. Two setters contributed with freshman Alexa Bonanno registering 28 assists and senior Luz Nagle adding 16.
The Bison were strong defensively with 11 blocks and four players finishing with double-digit digs. Freshman Anna Carroll, senior Celeste Barker, and Stout contributed four block assists apiece. Sophomore Brooke Stark led the team with 19 digs, while freshman Delanie Lewis (13), Nagle (12), and Bonanno (11) were the other players to finish with double-digits.
Bucknell has had numerous big comebacks to win a set this season and added another to take the first set against Holy Cross. The Bison trailed 7-1 early and didn’t take the lead until they went up 26-25. They trailed 25-24 before scoring the final three points on a kill by Stout, a block by Richards and Stout, and an ace by Stark.
The teams traded wins over the next three sets to force a deciding fifth set. Bucknell fought off match point three times before gaining the advantage. The Bison would need five match-point attempts before putting it away with a block by Stout and Barker.
Emmerson Smith finished with a double-double of 21 kills and 15 digs for Holy Cross, while Clare Honan was right behind her with 19 kills.
Bucknell, which has doubled its overall win total from last season, goes on the road for its next two matches. The Bison will play at Colgate on Friday and at Army West Point on Saturday. Both contests are scheduled for 7 p.m.