LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell won a thrilling first set and nearly pushed the match to a fifth set, but went on to lose in a hard-fought match with American, 3-1 (28-30, 25-18, 25-15, 25-23) at Davis Gym on Friday night.
The first set had the crowd at Davis Gym on their feet as Bucknell jumped out to a 19-12 lead, weathered an American comeback, and staved off numerous set points on its way to taking a 1-0 lead in the match. The Eagles came all the way back to take a 23-22 lead and then had its first set point at 24-23. A kill by senior Hailey Stout knotted the score at 24-all.
American had two more serves during the set with a chance to take a 1-0 lead, but Bucknell responded each time. The Bison had three serves with a chance to win, finally converting on a block by junior Blake Buchholz and sophomore Mimi Richards for the 30-28 win.
The Eagles, who improved to 15-7 overall and 6-1 in the Patriot League, took control with relatively easy wins in sets two and three, but Bucknell came alive again in the fourth.
The Bison trailed 18-11 in the fourth set before battling all the way back to cut the deficit to one, 24-23. The comeback attempt was fueled by a 5-0 run that was highlighted by four block assists from Richards. The Eagles eventually clinched the match with a kill by Vela McBride.
Richards had another huge night, making her case as one of the most improved players in the Patriot League this season. She finished with nine total blocks and nine kills on .333 hitting. With eight block assists in the match, Richards now has 91 on the season. That moves her past Erika Eastley (2013) and Kebah Edoho (2012) for fifth on the program’s single-season list. She needs just two more to pass Karen Campbell (2012) for fourth.
Freshman Anna Carroll had one of the best matches of her young career at Bucknell with four total blocks and eight kills. Bullard finished with a team-high 14 kills, while Bonanno led the team in assists with 22 and sophomore Brooke Stark led the team in digs with 19.
Aleksandra Kazala carried American with a double-double. She finished with 23 kills on .412 hitting and added 17 digs.
Bucknell, which dropped to 9-10 overall and 3-4 in the Patriot League, will look to even both records when it hosts Holy Cross (3-17, 0-7 PL) at Davis Gym on Saturday at 5 p.m.