Posted: November 7, 2008
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh volleyball team could not hold off the American Eagles on Friday, as they rolled to a three-set victory at Leeman-Turner Arena. Ivana Cebakova’s 12 service aces, including six in the final set, helped propel the Eagles to their 11th-straight league win this year.
The Mountain Hawks fall to 8-17 overall this season, with a 3-8 record in the Patriot League, while the Eagles improve to 19-7 with a perfect 11-0 record in league play.
“That’s the best team in our league,” Lehigh head coach Jenny Maurer said. “We competed with them, so we’re proud of our team tonight.”
The Mountain Hawks did not go down easily to the Eagles on Friday night, as they struggled to compete with the team that has led the Patriot League all season long. Freshman Angelika Kopacz led the Mountain Hawks attack with six kills, while fellow freshman Emma Melendez led the defense with seven digs.
Lehigh fell behind early in the first two sets, and was unable to battle back, falling 25-17 and 25-12 in the initial two frames. But they did not dwell on the early struggles, and the Mountain Hawks roared out of the gates in the third set to a 7-3 lead to start. But American proved to be too strong, and the Eagles came back to record the 25-18 win in the final set.
“The girls battled throughout the match,” Maurer said. “There was never a moment where they gave up. American is our measuring stick, and they taught us a lot tonight by exposing our weaknesses.”
While the American attack was firing on all cylinders, the Mountain Hawks were able to score some defensive points, thanks to some timely blocking by Emily Flanagan, who accounted for three of the Mountain Hawks’ five blocks on the match.
The Mountain Hawks were able to score some aces of their own, registering six in the match, including three from Flanagan. But Lehigh was just unable to stop Cebakova and the rest of the service game of the Eagles throughout the match, as American put up a total of 19 aces overall.
“Sure, we were off at times,” Maurer said. “But they’re a great serving team. (Cebakova) got on a couple of great runs and we got a little flustered. You have to be extremely confident and find a way to stop a player like that, but she’s going to get her points.”
Lehigh returns to action on Saturday, when the Mountain Hawks host Navy in a pivotal Patriot League match. Live coverage of the match can be seen here at Lehighsports.com with Robbie Aaron providing the commentary.