Bucknell Volleyball Wins 3-1 Against Sam Houston State
Sept. 6, 2008
CHICAGO - The Bucknell volleyball team won its second consecutive match on Saturday night at the Loyola Chicago Invitational. The Bison (2-5) were victorious over Sam Houston State (3-6) by a score of 3-1 after defeating the University of Tennessee at Martin 3-2 in their afternoon match. Sophomore Kaitlin Segal continued to lead the way with 17 kills and 10 digs against the Bearkats, earning her a spot on the all-tournament team.
Similar to earlier matches in the day, neither team could make a convincing scoring run early in the match. The Bison and the Bearkats traded points throughout the beginning of the first set, but the tides turned when three consecutive service aces by Sam Houston State took the score from 16-15 in favor of Bucknell, to 18-16. A timeout by Bucknell stopped the run and the Bison answered with four consecutive points to go up 20-18. The Orange and Blue held the set lead from that point on, eventually taking the 25-22 win.
The second set also saw its share of back-and-forth scoring, and although the Bison refused to disappear, they were not as fortunate in the outcome. Sam Houston State pulled ahead for good at 24-23 and won their next point on a Sarah Hazlewood kill. The Bearkats earned their only win, 25-23.
Undiscouraged by the second-set stumble, the Bison got right back in the match in the beginning of the third set. Bucknell got four consecutive points off senior Sheena Czipri's serve, to go up 11-8. The set took a deciding turn at 12-9 when a kill by freshman Kyleigh McAhren started a Bison stampede and put the Orange and Blue up by four. Four more consecutive kills followed, two from Segal and three more from McAhren, and Bucknell improved their score to 17-9. Sam Houston State never recovered as sophomore Heidi Kamp and freshman Anne Ellenberger closed the door with kills of their own.
The Bison got down early in the fourth but quickly turned things around. Three errors by the Bearkats and a kill by Kamp brought Bucknell to within two at 8-6. Back-to-back kills by Segal and two consecutive service aces by Pitsch quickly tied the game at 13. Bucknell worked the score to 17 apiece on a kill by Kamp, then took a two-point advantage on a service ace and kill from McAhren. The Bison held the lead and claimed the set 25-18 to give them their second match victory of the day.
"It seems like we've turned a little bit of a corner in terms of our execution," said head coach Cindy Opalski. "We're seeing much better focus from our younger people and we're really concentrating on first-ball termination, which has changed our game dramatically."
Opalski was also extremely pleased with the improvement in the Bison's defense, especially its blocking game. Bucknell registered two block solos and 10 block assists against Sam Houston State.
"One of the most pleasant stats because of the amount of time and effort we've put in is our blocking stats," said Opalski. "I thought we did a great job of blocking, especially in the afternoon match."
In addition to Segal's defensive contribution of 10 digs, Czipri totaled 11 kills on the evening and freshman libero Emily Sawanobori had nine.
The Bison will show off their new game next weekend at the Bucknell Invitational. The home tournament on Friday, Sept. 12 and Saturday, Sept. 13 will begin with a bout between Canisius and Fairleigh Dickinson at 6 p.m., followed by Bucknell and Saint Francis (Pa.) at 8 p.m.