LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell volleyball team remains in the thick of the race for a Patriot League Tournament berth thanks to a 3-1 (25-23, 23-25, 25-19, 25-23) victory over Loyola (Md.) Saturday evening at Davis Gym. The Bison celebrated seniors Stefanie Alpert, Celeste Barker, Luz Nagle and Hailey Stout during Senior Night ceremonies prior to the match.
With just two more regular-season matches remaining, Bucknell (13-13, 7-7 PL) is in sixth place in the Patriot League standings. The Bison are fighting with fourth-place Lehigh (8-6 PL) and fifth-place Colgate (7-6 PL) for the fourth and final playoff spot.
Bucknell was led by 11 kills from Stout, while Barker hit a team-best .375. Brooke Stark had a team-best 25 digs from her libero position and Alexa Bonanno (23) and Nagle (17) combined for 40 assists from the setter position.
Following the spirited Senior Night ceremonies, Bucknell jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the first set thanks to an early 6-0 run. The Bison would not relinquish the lead, which was as much as five points late in the set. A Barker kill clinched the set victory.
Mimi Richards had four kills in the first set and Bucknell held Loyola (9-18, 3-13 PL) to a negative hitting percentage (-.030).
The Greyhounds improved to a .213 hitting percentage in the second set behind 11 total kills from Ann Ernst and Haley Puddy on their way to the 25-23 comeback win. Bucknell led 4-0 early and Loyola did not take its first lead in the set until a kill by Ernst made it 21-20.
The Bison bounced back to win the final two sets and close their home schedule on a winning note. Bucknell ended the third set on a 9-2 run to come back from a 17-16 deficit for a six-point victory. There were nine ties and four lead changes in the set.
The Bison used a couple big runs in the fourth set to clinch the victory. After trailing 9-3 early, they went on a 9-3 run of their own to even the score at 12-all. Bucknell then scored six consecutive points with Bonanno serving to turn a 20-15 deficit into a one-point advantage. A kill by Alpert concluded the match.
Loyola was hurt by errors throughout the night. The Greyhounds finished with 31 attack errors and eight service errors.
Bucknell totaled seven blocks in the match, including 2.5 by Richards, who now has 132 total blocks on the season.
The Bison outhit Loyola .182 to .155 for the match with Bucknell outhitting the Greyhounds in three of the four sets.
The final two matches of the regular season for the Bison are next week at Holy Cross (Nov. 10) and American (Nov. 12).