Posted: November 14, 2008
LEWISBURG, Pa. – Lehigh fell to the Bucknell Bison on Friday evening in straight sets as the Mountain Hawks began the final weekend of their season. Lehigh started slow, dropping the first set 25-13, but rebounded to have a pair of strong showings in the final two, before losing 25-19, and 25-18. With the loss the Mountain Hawks fall to 8-19 overall and 3-10 in league play, while the Bison improve to 12-17 and 7-6 in league action.
Leading the way for Lehigh on Friday was Rebecca Slegers with seven kills, leading the team in hitting percentage (.188). Slegers, who is mostly known for leading the Mountain Hawks with 61 blocks, was able to be more aggressive on the offensive end on Friday night.
“She’s been progressing all year,” Lehigh head coach Jenny Maurer said. “We got her the ball some more tonight and she was key for us.”
Emma Melendez led the Brown and White with six digs in the match, just ahead of Haly Conklin’s five digs. Jessica Kudirka paved the way with 15 of the team’s 19 assists as the primary setter for the Mountain Hawks.
The Bison took control of the match early, grabbing a 25-13 opening-set victory. Bucknell was very effective on the attack starting from the first set, where the Bison hit .346 from the floor. They never dipped below .333 on the attack in any of the three sets, finishing .342 from the floor in the match.
Bucknell had a lot more to play for than the Mountain Hawks, who have been eliminated from playoff contention. The Bison came into the match ranked fourth in the league and trying to earn that fourth and final spot in the league postseason.
“Bucknell was fighting to earn a spot in the Patriot League tournament,” Maurer said. “They fought hard and they earned every point tonight.”
Lehigh struggled in the initial set, registering just five kills and making eight errors. But the Mountain Hawks were able to make improvements in the next two sets, knocking down nine and seven kills in the final two frames.
The Mountain Hawks also struggled from the service game, scoring just three aces and making eight receiving errors to help Bucknell gain an advantage early in the sets.
Lehigh closes out its 2008 season on Saturday when the Mountain Hawks head to Hamilton, New York to take on the Colgate Raiders. The opening serve is set for 4 p.m. For Maurer and the Mountain Hawks, it will be one final shot at ending the season on a high note.
“We have to refocus now,” Maurer said. “Every match is another opportunity and we have to treat it as such. We just have to play better tomorrow.”