LEWISBURG, Pa. – Sophomore Mimi Richards had a huge game with 22 kills to lead Bucknell to a 3-1 (25-23, 25-23, 20-25, 25-23) win over visiting Colgate in a Patriot League volleyball match in front of a large crowd at Davis Gym on Saturday. It was the Bison’s first win over the Raiders since 2010, ending a 13-match streak in the series.
Bucknell improved to 7-7 overall and 1-1 in the Patriot League, while Colgate fell to 9-5 overall and 0-2 in the conference.
The 22 kills by Richards came with a .459 hitting percentage. She added six total blocks and five digs. Fellow sophomore Sophie Bullard also had a big match with a double-double of 15 kills and 14 digs.
Senior Stefanie Alpert, making her second start in as many days, helped the Bison come out on top in the always important opening set, tallying six of her nine kills for the match. With the score tied 23-23, senior Celeste Barker and Bullard combined on a block before the set was clinched on an attack error by the Raiders.
Both teams produced a long run in the second set, but Bucknell did it first and then hung on for the win. The Bison scored seven straight points with junior Blake Buchholz serving to go up 20-10, ending with an ace and then a kill by Richards. Colgate came all the way back to cut its deficit to one, 24-23, but lost the last point on a service error.
The momentum appeared to turn after the teams returned from the locker room following the second set. Colgate closed the gap with a fairly easy 25-20 win in set three and then took a four-point lead midway through the fourth set.
Trailing 13-9 in that set, Bucknell came alive and again looked like the team that willed itself to a 2-0 advantage. The Bison scored seven of the next nine points to take a 16-15 lead, but the Raiders turned the tables with a run of its own to go up 21-16.
Bucknell’s strength, its defense at the net, came through when it was needed most. Richards and senior Luz Nagle teamed up for back-to-back blocks to help the Bison cut the deficit to three, 21-18, and then got within two after an attack error by Colgate. The Raiders went back up three on the next serve, only to see the Bison score four straight points to give itself match point at 24-22. Bullard had a kill for the final point on that run, and then added another two serves later to give the Bison a 25-23 victory.
Richards was dominant in the first three sets of the match, tallying 16 kills on .593 hitting and three total blocks. The Bison were also aided by a great defensive effort by sophomore Brooke Stark, who had some highlight-reel digs during a couple of long rallies. She finished the match with nine digs, while senior Hailey Stout chipped in with eight.
Nagle and freshman Alex Bonanno split time at setter. Nagle tallied 27 assists, and Bonanno did her part with 19.
Colgate, which was picked to finish second in the conference in the league’s preseason poll, was led by Alli Lowe with 19 kills and a .424 hitting percentage.
Bucknell will play its third straight home match against a league opponent when it hosts Lafayette on Friday at 7 p.m.