Posted: August 30, 2008
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The Lehigh volleyball team returned to action for day two of the Duquesne/Robert Morris Invitational on Saturday. After notching the team’s first victory of the season Friday, the Mountain Hawks dropped the last two matches of the invitational to Duquesne (3-0) and Marist (3-1).
Despite the two losses on Saturday, head coach Jenny Maurer said she was pleased with how her team came together over the weekend.
“This weekend was a definite success for us,” Maurer said. “We got one win under our belt and we look like a team that has played together for a while.”
The Mountain Hawks took the floor on Saturday fresh off the team’s first victory over Loyola (Md.) from Friday afternoon. But they were facing a much more experienced foe in Duquesne, and the Brown and White dropped the first set quickly, 25-13.
Maurer said she saw her players struggle to match the energy they put forth the day before early on, and they were playing back on their heels against the veteran Dukes.
But just like they did on Friday, the Mountain Hawks fought back in the last two sets, cutting the margin of victory each time (25-17 in the second set), and only losing the third set by a score of 25-23.
“I think that loss was somewhat similar to the Robert Morris game (on Friday) because we finished on a high note,” Maurer said. “I think they’re starting to see the big picture though. They’re seeing what it takes to finish.”
The second match was much more tightly contested, even though it will also go down as a loss for Lehigh. The Mountain Hawks dropped the first set 21-25, and battled to a difficult 25-27 loss in the second set.
Then the tide started to turn for Lehigh, as it pulled out a victory in the third set, 26-24. With the momentum in their favor, the Mountain Hawks pushed Marist to the brink in the fourth set before finally losing 27-29.
“This was just a well-fought match,” Maurer said. “It was so close the entire time. It just shows you it could have gone either way.”
Emma Melendez added another 25 digs in the the Marist match, helping her put together an impressive first weekend at the Division-I level. Angelika Kopacz was stellar on the attack once more for Lehigh, scoring 17 kills and picking up 23 digs against Marist.
The stats were eye-popping enough for Kopacz, but Maurer was more impressed with what she saw than just the numbers.
“Some of the things she did were mature beyond her years,” Maurer said. “It was how she scored, not just the fact that she scored.”
Maurer was also pleased with the play of her veterans, especially Mo Mcreynolds and Brittany Dickinson, who both provided leadership and solid play throughout the whole weekend.
The biggest thing for Maurer was that she saw marked improvement all weekend, from the reduction of errors to the transition play.
“We did a good job of turning our defense into offense,” Maurer said. “We were putting balls in setters hands, and our setters were making good decisions.”
Complete stats for Saturday’s matches will be posted on Lehighsports.com when they are available.
The Mountain Hawks return to action on Tuesday, September 2, when they travel to Jersey City, N.J. for the St. Peters Tri-Match. There, they will take on St. Peters and St. Francis (N.Y.) at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively.