Aug. 25, 2012
PHILADELPHIA - Bucknell volleyball defeated Manhattan 3-1 in its second match of the day at the La Salle Invitational on Saturday evening to give the Bison their first 2-0 start since 2009. The 25-16, 23-25, 25-19, 26-24 victory was sparked by three players with double-figure kills, including freshman Karen Campbell (Chesapeake, Va./Cape Henry Collegiate) with 12, and junior Morgan Mientus' (Chicago, Ill./Saint Ignatius College Prep) 25 digs.
"We're very pleased with our approach to the game and our energy," said head coach Cindy Opalski after the match. "We're making good progress, and what I'm probably most pleased at is the fact that our upperclassmen are stepping up and taking charge and putting our team on their backs a little bit and being tough."
Among the upperclassmen who continue to step up is Mientus. The junior entered the season-opening tournament with a career high of 13 digs, and she topped that mark in each of today's two matches. After posting 16 in Bucknell's win against La Salle this afternoon, she improved to 25 in the win over the Jaspers (0-2). Fellow veteran Kebah Edoho (Odenton, Md./Arundel) also helped on the defensive end with five blocks against Manhattan.
Edoho, Kristen Titley (Coral Gables, Fla./Palmer Trinity School) and Campbell were Bucknell's leaders on the offensive end. Edoho and Titley both registered 10 kills, while Campbell came in at a dozen with a hitting percentage of .455 (12-2-22).
Campbell's final two kills of the day helped secure the win for Bucknell. Play had been close throughout the match, and the fourth set was no different. The Bison eventually claimed their first match point at 24-21 with a kill from Titley, but the Jaspers surged to tie it at 24 apiece. Campbell then gave Bucknell a fourth match point at 25-24 and shut the door on Manhattan with another kill on the very next point.
With Campbell's final kill and the Orange and Blue's 2-0 record, Bucknell has started the season with back-to-back wins for the first time since 2009 when it defeated Saint Peter's and St. Francis (N.Y.) to kick things off. The Bison's last 3-0 start came in 1999.
The match with Manhattan started off with Bucknell looking as if it might cruise to the second win of the day. Edoho opened play with a kill and, although there were three ties, the Bison never trailed in the first set. The second set followed a different trend as Bucknell did not pull in front until 17-16. The Jaspers continued to hang around and moved back in front at 21-20. The Bison later saved three set points, but Manhattan was still able to close it out with a two-point win, evening the match at a set apiece.
Neither team took a lead of more than three points in the third set until the Bison made a late move. Edoho registered a kill for 18-14 to give Bucknell some breathing room and they moved easily to a 2-1 set lead after Manhattan ended the frame with back-to-back errors.
After three sets, Kat Tauscher (Washington, D.C./National Cathedral School) had 16 assists. The senior finished the day with match-high 26 assists, but at that point she still trailed rookie teammate Meghan Wentzel (San Anselmo, Calif./The Branson School). Wentzel, who had 17 assists through the first three sets, finished the contest with 18 assists and 10 digs, making her the first Bison to tally a double-double this year.
The fourth and final frame saw Manhattan take a quick lead, but its advantage was never more than a few points, foreshadowing the tight finish. Bucknell took its first lead at 10-9, and Manhattan tied it up three more times before the final point. A determined Bison squad came up bigger when it counted, however, and the Orange and Blue defeated the Jaspers for the first time since 1995. The all-time series between Bucknell and Manhattan is now tied, 3-3.
Bucknell will wrap up play at the La Salle Invitational with a pair of matches tomorrow. The Bison take on Niagara at 11 a.m., followed directly by a meeting with Loyola (Md.) at approximately 1 p.m.