Bison Volleyball Falters in Five-Set Match at Navy
Sept. 24, 2011
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Jessica Serrato (Millbrae, Calif./St. Ignatius College Prep) put up a career-best 21 kills and Anne Ellenberger (Phoenix, Ariz./Horizon Honors) recorded nine total blocks, but the effort could not keep Bucknell volleyball from taking a five-set loss to Navy at the Wesley A. Brown Field House on Saturday evening. The Bison (3-8, 0-2) saw their 2-0 lead evaporate as the Midshipmen (6-11, 1-1) came from behind, 18-25, 19-25, 25-19, 26-24, 15-13.
After taking the first two sets easily, Bucknell looked as if it was going to recover for the fifth set. The Bison opened the deciding frame on a 7-2 run, and the Mids' offense was sluggish as four of their first five points were courtesy of Bucknell errors. Despite the hot start, the Bison were unable to hang on down the stretch.
Shelby Mass served an ace to give the Mids an 11-10 lead, and although Kyleigh McAhren (Napa, Calif./Justin-Siena) saved one set point with a kill and Serrato and Ellenberger teamed up for a block to save another, the Bison couldn't clear that last hurdle. The comeback victory gave Navy its first Patriot League win of the season.
Of Serrato's 21 kills in the match, 12 of them came in the first two sets. The sophomore was just part of a strong offense that gave Bucknell a two-set lead out of the gates. In the first set, a 10-1 run gave the Bison an 11-3 lead and enough of a cushion to not be threatened by the Mids for the rest of the way. Bucknell hit .310, compared to .139 for Navy.
The Orange and Blue's hitting percentage improved to .414 thanks to 13 kills and only one error on 29 attempts in the second set. Navy kept things closer in the beginning of the frame, but Bucknell powered through in the end. Five straight points put Bucknell in front 23-17 before Kebah Edoho (Odenton, Md./Arundel) closed out the set with a kill.
Navy picked up steam in the third set and never really let Bucknell into the action. Although the Bison stayed within five points the entire time, their last lead came at just 5-4. Unable to make up enough ground as Navy recorded an attack percentage of .469, Bucknell saw its hopes of its first straight-sets win dashed.
The fourth set was a back-and-forth affair. Navy regained the advantage at 22-21 after a Maida Kalic' kill, and Kalic' gave the Mids a set point with another kill for 24-22. Serrato fought off a set point with a kill of her own, setting the score at 24-23, and a Navy ball handling error tied it up at 24 apiece. The Bison again fell short of a full comeback, however, and back-to-back kills for the Mids sent the match to a fifth set.
"We played really well for the first two sets," said head coach Cindy Opalski. "We were focused and we just lost our focus. Lesson learned.
"Patriot League is a new season and anything can happen with the parody in this league. We'll work to come back more determined and more focused next week."
Bucknell has played a five-set match five times in 11 outings this fall. Today's loss drops them to 2-3 in those matches.
McAhren was second among Bison in kills with 13, and Kat Tauscher (Washington, D.C./National Cathedral School) totaled a team-best 48 assists. Joining Ellenberger in the defensive effort was Leylin Marroquin (Lone Tree, Colo./Highlands Ranch) with 20 digs and Morgan Mientus (Chicago, Ill./St. Ignatius College Prep) with 13. Mientus also served three aces.
Three Mids ended in double-digit kills, led by Kalic' with 16. Carolyn Ewert added 15 and Katie Bray had 13. Mass led all players with 58 assists, and Holly Berger had 20 digs.
The Bison will return home to Davis Gym for their next set of Patriot League matches. First up is Lafayette at 7 p.m. on Sept. 30. The match will stream like on Bison Vision at BucknellBison.com.