Posted: August 29, 2008
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – It was all about momentum for the Lehigh women’s volleyball team on Friday. The Mountain Hawks built it in the first match of the Duquesne/Robert Morris Invitational even though they fell to Robert Morris 3-0. Then the Mountain Hawks let that momentum carry over and lead them to the team’s first victory of the season against Loyola (Md.), 3-0.
Lehigh lost its opening match in three sets, by scores of 25-14, 25-19, 25-19. But it was in the second set where the Mountain Hawks proved to themselves that they could play with the more experienced Colonials.
“That’s when I think the confidence started to get there,” head coach Jenny Maurer said. “We were up but we just didn’t finish.”
The Mountain Hawks were up again in the second match of the day, but this time they were winning sets instead of points. They rolled to 25-16 and 25-11 wins in the first two sets, showing significant improvement in just the team’s second game of the year.
But it wasn’t so easy in the third set, as the Greyhonds battled back and kept it close throughout, before Lehigh pulled out the 27-25 win.
“The first two sets everything was falling our way,” Maurer said. “We got a little out of sync in the third set, but what I liked most was that we were able to finish.”
A slew of freshmen led the statistical categories for the Mountain Hawks in their first game at the Division-I level. Angelika Kopacz scored a team-high nine kills for the Brown and White and earned the highest hitting percentage on the team (.350). Jessica Kurdika led the team with 17 assists and Emma Melendez recorded a team-high nine digs.
Their success what not a surprise to Maurer, but she said it shows how well her team plays together.
“A lot of it has to do with the tone set by the upperclassmen,” Maurer said. “They feel they can hop right in and contribute. It doesn’t matter what year they are.”
Kopacz led the team again with nine kills in the second game, but she was not the only successful attacker. Four Mountain Hawks recorded hitting percentages greater than .300 and the entire team only made six errors. Co-captain Mo McReynolds recorded eight kills and Chelsea Sheridan and Rebecca Slegers each notched four kills apiece.
Going into the weekend, Maurer said she wanted her team to play as a unit and she wanted the lines between upperclassmen and newcomers to be blurred. Her team achieved both those goals and managed to pull out a win.
“Some of the things we saw today are things you see from an experienced team,” Maurer said. “I was really proud of them.”
Lehigh returns to action Saturday against Duquesne at 11 a.m., and again at 3 p.m. against Marist on day two of the Duquesne/Robert Morris Invitational.