Women’s volleyball breeze past Bucknell to end regular season with 16 straight wins
AU will host the Patriot League Tournament Nov. 18-19 in hopes of earning 5th consecutive title
A balanced offense from the AU women’s volleyball team allowed the Eagles to cruise to a 25-14, 25-10, 25-22 victory against the Bucknell Bison, Sunday at Bender Arena. Eight Eagles recorded kills and the team finished the match with a 0.479 hitting percentage.
“We played them on the road [on Oct. 13] and it was a competitive match,” head coach Barry Goldberg said. “But in our home gym, we’ve got the fee for it. We’re getting into the end of the year and starting to get into a groove and understand how to play together.”
The Eagles (24-7, 15-1 PL) jumped out to a quick lead in the first set with a five-point run propelled by the service game of senior outside hitter Hoakalei Dawson. Outside hitters Aleksandra Kazala and Shannon Webb paced the Eagles attack in the opening set, recording six and five kills respectively. AU never trailed in the set and held Bucknell (14-14, 8-8 PL) to an attacking percentage of 0.103.
AU carried its momentum into the second set, immediately going up 17-4 and preventing the Bison for recording two consecutive points the entire set. Kazala and Webb continued to lead the offensive attack for AU combining for 10 of the Eagles 16 kills in the second set.
The Bison played the third set much closer, and the teams traded points for the majority of the set. The Eagles were able to pull away late in the set and closed out the match with a kill from senior middle blocker Erin Schwarz.
Kazala finished the match with 17 kills and eight digs and Webb added 13 kills and eight digs. Schwarz recorded a season-high eight kills and junior setter Kennedy Etheridge contributed 45 assists for the Eagles
“It was a good win, a good start -- as we came out strong and controlled a lot of the game,” Goldberg said. “It was certainly an important win to keep our momentum going as we come into hosting the tournament next weekend”
The Eagles return to action Nov. 18 for the semifinals of the Patriot League Tournament, where they will face Lehigh at 2:00 p.m. in Bender Arena. AU, the top seed in the tournament, defeated Lehigh in both of their regular season matches.
Prior to the match, seniors Dawson and Schwarz were honored for their four years with the program. Dawson was named the Patriot League Libero of the Year (awarded to the league’s top defensive specialist) her sophomore season before an injury forced her to miss all of her junior season. She currently ranks eighth in program history in digs. Schwarz, who missed a half of her sophomore and all of her junior year due to knee injuries, ranks in the top 10 in program history in blocks-per-set.
“They’ve struggled through some moments, both of them,” Goldberg said. “But I have a lot of admiration for both of them, because of the things they’ve had to struggle through for their four years and continuing to persevere.”