ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Navy (14-11, 11-5) volleyball team fought off four match points against it before falling in the fifth set, 16-14, to Bucknell (15-10, 8-8), Sunday afternoon at the Wesley A. Brown Field House in Annapolis. The match lasted over two and one-half hours and saw the Bison prevail, 21-25, 23-25, 25-20, 25-20, 16-1.
Both teams knew going into the match that the result would not impact any playoff seedings in the Patriot League. However, that knowledge impacted the Navy lineup.
“I love the fight in this team,” said Navy head coach Paco Labrador. “We battled in every point but came up just short.”
Navy’s regular starting lineup took to the court to begin the match. The Mids took the lead for good at 6-5, but that margin hovered between one and three points until they took a 21-17 advantage. Bucknell closed to within two points at 21-19 and 22-20, then an Ashley Warren (Jr., Pennington, N.J.) kill and a Bison attack error gave Navy a 24-20 lead. The teams traded sideouts to close the set.
Only two starters — opposite hitter Warren and setter Averi Miller (Jr., Phoenix, Ariz.) — and libero Hannah Hoover (So., Katy, Texas) remained in the Navy lineup after the conclusion of the opening frame.
Bucknell was the team to take a slight lead in this set and eventually grew the advantage to 17-12. Navy made it a one-point set at 19-18 and 20-19, only to see the Bison regain a 23-19 cushion. The Mids would run the table the rest of the way, scoring six-straight points to take a 2-0 advantage.
The teams were tied at 10-10 when Bucknell went on a 7-0 run to open up a comfortable advantage.
The score was knotted at 14-14 until the Bison took leads of 17-14, 19-15, and 21-16, which was enough cushion to extend the match.
Bucknell took an early 5-2 lead before Navy pulled to within one point at 7-6 and 8-7, then again at 11-10. The Bison scored three-straight points to reach match point with a 14-10 lead.
Last week, Navy overcame a 14-11 fifth-set deficit to defeat Lafayette, 16-14. The Mids nearly bettered that effort as today they tied the score at 14-14 on a kill by Warren, a Bucknell attack error, a block by Julia Humphrey (Fr., Stokesdale, N.C.) and a block by the tandem of Humphrey and Rilee Sherman (Jr., Cibolo, Texas). The Bison attained their fifth match point on a kill, then registered another kill to end the proceedings.
Both teams had 58 kills, Navy held a 13-12 lead in blocks and the Bison posted a .196-.177 advantage in hitting percentage. Bucknell also tallied 13 aces and 13 service errors, while Navy had four aces and six service errors.
Warren ended the match with a career-high 21 kills and added a .326 attack percentage. Sherman totaled 10 kills, a career-high six blocks and just missed a double-double with nine digs. Miller dished out 40 assists and grabbed 13 digs and Hoover snared 15 digs.
“Ashley was on a mission tonight,” said Labrador. “We asked a lot of her and she stepped up and carried us.
“I’m proud of our depth. And I am really looking forward to getting back in competition Tuesday.”
Navy will play host to American Tuesday night in the quarterfinal round of the Patriot League Tournament. The match between the third-seeded Mids and the sixth-seeded Eagles begins at 7 p.m.
Prior to the match, Navy held its annual Senior Day festivities for its lone member of the Class of 2023, Celie Feighery (Sr., Oak Hill, Va.).
“Celie has been a tremendous competitor over the last four years,” said Labrador. “She really embodies every aspect of Midshipmen life, as well as USNA’s mission statement of developing leaders morally, mentally and physically.”
T1. Colgate (22-5 / 14-2)
T1. Army (18-8 / 14-2)
3. Navy (14-11 / 11-5)
T4. Loyola (10-13/ 8-8)
T4. Bucknell (15-10 / 8-8)
6. American (15-14 / 7-9)
7. Lafayette (5-11 / 8-15)
8. Lehigh (4-12 / 13-15)
9. Holy Cross (1-15 / 3-24)
Patriot League Tournament
Quarterfinals — Nov. 15
- #6 American at #3 Navy
- #5 Bucknell at #4 Loyola
Semifinals — Nov. 19 — at Colgate
- Lowest-seeded advancing team vs. #1 Colgate
- Highest-seeded advancing team vs. #2 Army
Final — Nov. 20 — at Colgate
- Semifinal winners