Sept. 27, 2013
LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Strong serving and solid defense helped the Navy volleyball team post a 3-0 victory over Bucknell Friday night at Davis Gym in Lewisburg, Pa. The Mids (6-7, 2-0 Patriot League) notched a 25-17, 25-17, 25-20 win over the Bison (6-6, 0-3).
"This was a really good win for us, especially with it coming at the end of exam week in the classroom," said Navy head coach Larry Bock. "Bucknell is a good team that will do some damage to people, especially at their place."
The Mids quickly took control of the opening set. Navy jumped out to a 5-2 lead before building advantages of 10-4 and 19-11 in earning the win.
Bucknell had a strong start to the second set as the Bison took an early 7-4 advantage. Navy tied the frame at 8-8 before edging out to a 14-11 lead. That cushion soon grew to 19-14 as the Mids eventually took a 2-0 lead in sets.
Once the Mids took a 3-2 lead in the early stages of the third set, Navy would hold the lead the rest of the way but never was able to completely separate itself from the Bison until late in the set. At one point the Mids held a 12-9 advantage until they were able to expand the margin out to 17-10.
"We were down a little in the second set," said Bock, "but outside of that we scored points in bunches tonight. We sided out at about the same rate as we usually do, but we were more successful at scoring the tough points when we served than we have been.
"I thought we served the heck out of the ball, even though we only had four aces. That was really fun to see. Serving has been an ongoing project for us through the years. And serving tough led to us being able to setup a successful block."
Navy outhit Bucknell, .253-.077, thanks in part to the Mids tallying 8.0 team blocks. Conversely, the Bison were credited with 4.5 team blocks.
Balance was once again a key to Navy's success. Five different Mids recorded at least five kills and five Mids also tallied at least two blocks. Reaching double figures in kills for the Mids were Erin Fortner (Sr., Villa Hills, Ky.) and Olivia Yeager (So., Lutz, Fla.), both of whom finished the night with 10 kills. Just missing double digits was Katie Sylakowski (So., Escondido, Calif.) with nine kills. Additionally, Fortner hit .381 and Sylakowski hit .375.
As for Navy's defense Alex Cassel
(Jr., Sandy, Utah) led all players with five blocks while both Fortner and Alli Graf
(Fr., Annapolis, Md.) grabbed eight digs. That defensive effort helped the Mids limit the Bucknell offense to having just one of its players notch more than six kills (Kristen Titley, eight).
"Erin was good tonight offensively," said Bock, "but we didn't have to rely on her for everything."
Navy will remain on the road and in the Keystone State overnight as the Mids will make their way from Lewisburg to Bethlehem for a 4 p.m. match Saturday at Lehigh. Links to free live video and live statistics from the match will be available at NavySports.com.