Posted: September 13, 2008
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh volleyball team finished the Crosstown Tournament with a 2-1 record, after splitting its two matches on Saturday. The Mountain Hawks began the day with a dominating 3-0 victory against Coppin State, before falling in a tightly-contested three-set match.
The Mountain Hawks move to 4-5 on the season, just one win shy of their win total in 2007.
Jessica Kudirka put the first match away in the third set, going on an impressive serving run that took away any thoughts of a Coppin State comeback. Kudirka served for 16-consecutive points, giving the Mountain Hawks a 17-1 lead in the set. She earned three of her six aces in the match during the run, and ironically, it was a Kudirka service error that ended the fantastic stretch and gave the service back to the Eagles.
“Once I settle into a rhythm like that I feel like nothing can stop me,” Kudirka said. “I just feed off the energy from my teammates.”
Kudirka’s run may have put the match away for good, but it was never really in doubt to begin with. Lehigh jumped out to a big lead in the first set and closed out a 25-12 win to set the tone. The Mountain Hawks did not let off the gas pedal in the second, pulling away for the 25-15 win.
Lehigh played a very crisp match, making only nine errors overall, and playing an error-free final set. The team’s .373 hitting percentage was the highest of the season. The attack by Mo McReynolds was near flawless, as the junior captain totaled 16 kills and made just one error for a .577 hitting percentage.
“It’s always a confidence builder when you take care of a team in three,” head coach Jenny Maurer said. But even then you can always work on things.”
Lehigh squared off with Marist in the second match of the day, hoping to avenge a four-set defeat to the Red Foxes on August 30. Both teams exchanged leads throughout the first two sets, and it wasn’t until the final point fell that a winner could be declared.
Lehigh took Marist to the limit in the first set, as the teams were tied at 24 before Marist was able to put the Mountain Hawks away for the 26-24 win. Lehigh trailed by as many as six in the first set, and consistently came back, but could not overcome the Red Foxes.
The second set was more of the same, with Lehigh battling until the bitter end. With Marist leading 24-22, the teams exchanged attacks and digs, diving all over the floor before the Red Foxes earned the set win.
When the Red Foxes pulled away in the third, it clinched a three-set victory, but the scoreboard doesn’t tell the story of how close this match was, Maurer said.
“We’re pretty evenly matched teams,” Maurer said. “It was a very similar game to the last one we played against them, and it’s just a game of who wants it more.”
Despite the loss to Marist, Maurer was pleased with how her team developed over the weekend.
“Are we happy to go 2-1 on the weekend?” Maurer asked. “Absolutely we are. We’re coming away from this weekend on the positive.
The Mountain Hawks return to action on September 19, when the travel to the Towson Invitational. They will face off with North Dakota, Maryland and Towson in Towson, Md.