Oct. 21, 2011
LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Bucknell narrowly edged the Navy volleyball team in a four-set match Friday night at Davis Gym in Lewisburg, Pa. The Mids won the opening set by the score of 27-25, then the Bison won the ensuing three sets by scores of 25-23, 25-23 and 25-22, respectively.
The score was tied 37 times and the lead changed hands on 14 occasions during the course of Friday's match. Additionally, six of the nine sets played between the two teams this season were decided by no more than three points.
"A few points here and there and we could have come away with a great road win tonight," said Navy head coach Larry Bock. "It comes down to timing and execution, and being able to execute at the right time late in the match.
"I am so proud of this team in so many ways. I feel real good about them. They are starting to max out their abilities and that is what it will take for us to be successful. We just have to be able to ring out a few more points out of them in key situations late in sets."
The opening set saw Navy (6-17, 1-7 Patriot League) hold off a late Bucknell (6-11, 3-5) rally to record the victory. The Mids served for the set holding a 24-22 lead when back-to-back attack errors allowed the Bison to tie the score at 24-24. A kill by Erin Fortner (So., Villa Hills, Ky.) gave Navy another chance to serve for the set, but that was followed by a kill from Bucknell's Katie Baumgarten. A Case Trimble (Fr., Orlando, Fla.) kill gave Navy its fourth opportunity to serve for the set, with the Mids converting this chance on a block of Baumgarten by the tandem of Trimble and Maida Kalic' (Sr., Vernon, N.Y.).
Bucknell would even the match at one set apiece by winning a very close second set. The score was knotted at 23-23 when the Bison tallied blocks on consecutive plays to end the frame.
Navy held a 21-20 lead late in the third set when the Bison tallied the next four points to take a 24-21 advantage. The Mids staved off a pair of set points on a Fortner kill and a Shelby Mass (So., Owings, Md.) servcie ace, but a Mass service error allowed Bucknell to claim the third set.
The Mids again held a 21-20 lead in the fourth set and again Bucknell scored four unanswered points to build a 24-21 cushion. A Bison service error extended the match, but a kill by Bucknell's Morgan Mientus closed out the contest.
Navy finished the match with a six-kill advantage over Bucknell (54-48) in the final statistics and the Mids dropped in nine service aces to just four for the Bison. However, Bucknell hit .240 on the night to better a .160 effort by the Mids and held a 12-7 advantage in team blocks.
Individually, Fortner knocked down a career-high 20 kills in the match to go along with a very productive hitting percentage of .318. Both Kalic and Carolyn Ewert (Jr., Bakersfield, Calif.) contribued nine kills to the Navy offense. Forter also led the Mids with 14 digs, with Kalic' adding a Navy-best five blocks.
Fortner began the year as Navy's starting setting, missed several weeks in the middle of the season due to an injury, and recently has moved to the outside hitter position.
"For Erin to make the transition she has so fast is remarkable," said Bock. "She was just terrific tonight.
"Our middle hitters also did a nice job. Additionally, even though it may not jump out of the box score, I think Holly Berger (Sr., Claremont, Calif.) may have been the best player on the floor for either team tonight. She just passed lights out the whole match. I'm very pleased with all of our passers after tonight, but Holly especially."
Bucknell's Kyleigh McAhern totaled 15 kills while Anne Ellenberger posted 11 kills and eight blocks in the match.
Navy will now head to Hamilton, N.Y., for a match Saturday afternoon at Colgate.