Bucknell Volleyball Rallies Past Fordham for Five-Set Win to Open Season
Sept. 2, 2011
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Kat Tauscher(Washington, D.C./National Cathedral School) totaled 54 assists and four more Bison reached double-digit kills as Bucknell volleyball defeated Fordham 3-2 in its first match of the Bucknell Tournament at Davis Gym on Friday night. The Bison rallied twice to stay in contention, handing the Rams a 19-25, 26-24, 25-18, 18-25, 15-8 loss.
Bucknell (1-0) could hardly have made its fans wait another minute for the first victory of the year. The team's original season opener was canceled due to Hurricane Irene last week before the Bison pushed Friday's match the full distance against the Rams (1-1). Bucknell picked up some steam after a sluggish start, showing that it was not going to be a quick affair. Anne Ellenberger(Phoenix, Ariz./Horizon Honors) saved seven set points on her steady serve at the end of the first frame, but Fordham hung on for a 25-19 edge.
The Bison then began to take control midway through the second set, taking a 12-10 lead after a pair of attack errors from the Rams. The score remained close for the rest of the set before Bucknell's power took over down the stretch. Jessica Serrato (Millbrae, Calif./St. Ignatius College Prep) drilled an attack for the kill to tie things up at 22 apiece. Ellenberger followed suit to keep it tied at 24-24, and Kyleigh McAhren(Napa, Calif./Justin-Siena) served an ace to give Bucknell set point. A final attack error from the Rams allowed the Bison to even the match at one set each.
After hitting .323 in the first set, Fordham dropped to .146 in the second and .079 in the third. Bucknell's attack percentage climbed after the opening frame from .071 to .268 in the second set and .250 in the third. The stronger hitting propelled the Bison to a 2-1 set lead after taking the third by a score of 25-18.
A brief lull in Bucknell's intensity gave Fordham the opening it was looking for in the fourth set. The Rams extended the match after their own 25-18 win thanks in part to seven kills from Brittany Daulton. The senior hit .875 (7-0-8) and served out the set to force a fifth frame.
The Bison regained their earlier magic to finish out the night. They held a slim lead through much of the set, but Kristen Titley(Coral Gables, Fla./Palmer Trinity School) made it 10-6 to make Fordham nervous enough to call a timeout. Play resumed with a Rams attack error and back-to-back kills from Serrato, giving the Bison the 13-6 advantage. Serrato earned another kill soon after, her fourth of the set on an assist from Tauscher, to give Bucknell match point at 14-8. Tauscher then served an ace for the overall win.
Tauscher's 54 assists was a career high, smashing her previous best of 22 set a year ago also against Fordham. The Rams finished with 53 assists as a team on Friday. Titley led the Bison in kills with 18, putting her one shy of her personal record, while Serrato and McAhren added 15 kills each. Kebah Edoho(Odenton, Md./Arundel) chipped in 10 kills to go along with her five total blocks. Serrato's and Edoho's kills totals were both career highs.
Defensively, Leylin Marroquin (Lone Tree, Colo./Highlands Ranch) led with 16 digs, while Emily Sawanobori (Warren, N.J./Watchung Hills) added 12. The balanced attack from the entire roster was a high point for head coach Cindy Opalski.
"With 12 people making a contribution, it clearly shows our depth in each position on the floor," said Opalski. "Our upperclassmen, especially Kat, Kyleigh and Kebah, stepped up tonight. But the real positive thing I saw as a coach was we had some younger players come in and impact the match, especially in the fourth set."
Daulton finished the night with a Fordham-best 24 kills. Sara Konkel led the squad in assists with 28, and four different Rams tallied double-digit digs.
Earlier in the night, Dartmouth kicked off the Bucknell Tournament with a three-set win over Manahattan (25-17, 25-10, 25-23).
Tournament action restarts tomorrow at 10 a.m. with Manhattan taking on Fordham in Davis Gym. The Biosn will play twice more, first against Manhattan at noon. They will later cap off play with a 5 p.m. match opposite Dartmouth.