NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The Iona College volleyball team dropped its final two matches of the weekend at Bucknell earlier today with a 3-1 (26-24, 20-25, 14-25, 14-25) setback to La Salle before dropping a 3-2 (27-25, 25-22, 25-27, 20-25, 15-17) decision to the host Bisons in the afternoon.
Claire Archibald led the offensive effort for the Maroon & Gold with 13 kills to go along with five digs, three assists and a service ace. Freshman Jamie Smith added a balanced line of 13 assists, eight digs and seven kills while Emma Rose posted 25 assists and seven digs. Tess Connolly added 11 digs to seven kills.
Devin Corah put forth 17 kills for the Explorers (1-1) behind a .406 hitting percentage to go along with seven digs and three blocks (one solo, two assists). Bryanna Davis also reached double-digits in kills with 13 on a .294 percentage. Jensen Sharrits recorded a match-high 19 digs.
Facing game-point at 24-21 in the opening set, the Gaels rallied for a 5-0 run to win the first set 26-24. After a Archibald kill made it a two-point game, Smith brought Iona within one following a service ace. A block from Kassandra Darnaby and Shaina Campbell tied the score at 24-24 before the final two points went to Iona on a ball handling error from La Salle and one more service ace from Smith. Rose and Smith combined for 17 assists in the frame while Campbell was part of three blocks and Archibald led the offense with five kills.
A 6-0 run in the second set pushed La Salle ahead 8-5 in the early stages, a lead that was not relinquished. The Gaels managed to get within two at 18-16, however, the Explorers netted three straight points on the way to the 25-20 win. Both teams hit .128 in the set while La Salle used the advantage of two service aces and three blocks in the set to edge out the victory.
The Explorers matched winning scores in the third and fourth set at 25-14 due in large part to respective hitting percentages fo .393 and .458 while holding Iona to .074 and -.067. Davis totaled nine kills in the two sets to lead the effort.
After Iona claimed the first two sets in the afternoon match against Bucknell (2-0), the Bisons rallied to win the next three sets that included two games going to extra points to earn the victory.
The Gaels appeared to be on the verge of completing the match sweep in the third set with a 24-22 advantage before Bucknell took advantage of two attacking errors to tie the score. With the score tied at 25, a kill from Hailey Stout and block from Blake Buchholz and Mimi Richards closed out the comeback set victory for the Bisons.
After taking the third set by a score of 25-20, Bucknell put forth another comeback rally in the fifth set to take the win. With the Maroon & Gold again at match point, the Bisons used a block and a kill from Stout to retake the lead at 15-14. A kill from Smith was the final point of the match for Iona as back-to-back Bucknell kills gave the hosts the set and match win.
Archibald swung for 22 kills in the effort for the Gaels (1-2) on a .306 hitting percentage to go along with eight service aces and 11 digs. Smith added 16 digs, 13 kills and two aces with four assists while Connolly recorded 14 kills and 12 digs. Rose paced the offense with 49 assists.
Four players reached double-digit kills for the Bisons as the team accumulated a .269 hitting percentage as Sophie Bullard led the group with 17 kills. She also added 16 digs and four blocks. Luz Nagle was credited with a match-high 51 assists while adding nine digs and four kills.
The Gaels return to action next weekend with three-match trip to the Dog Pound Invitational hosted by UConn. Iona faces the Huskies in the first match of the weekend on Friday at 12:30 pm.
Bucknell Invitational All-Tournament Team
Sophie Bullard (Bucknell) -- MVP
Mimi Richards (Bucknell)
Kathryn Wood (La Salle)
Devin Corah (La Salle)
Claire Archibald (Iona)
Adriana Nieto (NJIT)
Natalia Carbonell Torres (Saint Peter's)