Lehigh falls just short in marathon match with Army
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh volleyball team came up just short on Saturday afternoon against Army, falling in five grueling sets to the defending Patriot League champions at Leeman-Turner Arena. Four Mountain Hawks posted double-doubles, including freshman Courtney McCutchan, who put away 14 kills and tallied 16 digs. The Mountain Hawks fall to 10-11 overall and 4-5 in the Patriot League.
"This was an electric game and it was really fun to be a part of," Lehigh head coach Jenny Maurer said. "We want to play every team better the second time around and that’s exactly what we did tonight. I was very happy with our performance, we really laid it all out there."
After falling in the first set 25-23, the Mountain Hawks responded with a dominant second set, hitting .324 to seal a 25-15 victory. The momentum carried over into the third set as Lehigh went ahead in the match, 2-1, after a 25-22 win. Lehigh promptly hit .375 in the fourth set, but could not overcome a .469 hitting performance by the visitors as Army (15-10, 8-1 Patriot League) evened the match with a 25-21 win. The deciding fifth set went back and forth as Lehigh staved off match point three times, and had a match point of its own at 17-16, but could not pull it out as Army prevailed 19-17.
"Our blocking was great tonight until the fourth and fifth sets," Maurer admitted. "Army’s middle hitters started executing and we let up on our aggressiveness and our serving."
Sophomore Taylor Poole tallied 14 kills, six blocks and posted a .414 hitting percentage. Junior Angelika Kopacz racked up 14 kills and 13 digs and classmate Jessica Kudirka compiled 25 assists and 11 digs. Freshman Dana Raber was the fourth Lehigh player to earn a double-double with 24 assists and 12 digs. Freshman Rachel Charles also turned in an impressive effort with 30 digs and two service aces.
Ariana Mankus led Army with 17 kills and 22 digs, while setter Karyn Powell tallied a match-high 47 assists to go along with 16 digs. Megan Wilton recorded 11 kills and posted three solo blocks to lead the Black Knights.
Lehigh outhit Army for the match, recording a .238 clip compared to the visitors’ .173 mark. Army held a slim advantage in assists, 57-56, while both teams posted 74 total points in the match.
Lehigh will return to action on Friday, October 29 when rival Lafayette travels to Leeman-Turner Arena at 7 p.m. The match will be Lehigh’s Dig Pink event, during which all proceeds go to the Side-Out Foundation for Breast Cancer research.