BETHLEHEM, Pa. – After losing a tough match the night before to Army, the Lehigh volleyball team bounced back Saturday beating Holy Cross (5-12, 1-1 PL) in straight sets (27-25, 25-16, 25-18). The Mountain Hawks (9-6, 1-1 PL) were led by a trio of players who had at least 10 kills. Sophomore Paige Kruse led the way with 13 while sophomore Amanda Clark and senior Angelika Kopacz had 12 and 10, respectively.
Lehigh defeats Holy Cross in straight sets
“The offensive effort today was really good, we were determined and confident,” said head coach Bob Betucci. “We need to have at least three or four players with 10 or more kills. We have to have a balanced attack in order for our offense to be successful.”
In the first set, Lehigh got off to a quick 11-6 lead. Looking as if the Mountain Hawks were about to pull away for good, Holy Cross fought right back putting together six straight points to take a 12-11 lead. From there, the two schools exchanged points until Holy Cross put together another string of points - this time it was four in a row to take a 19-15 lead. Then it was Lehigh’s turn to make a run, scoring six straight points via three kills, two Holy Cross attack errors and a service ace to take a 21-19 lead.
With the set tied at 23-23, Holy Cross would then find itself with a set point. The Mountain Hawks fought it off thanks to a kill by freshman Jade Van Streepen, one of her eight kills on the match. After a Lehigh attack error, Holy Cross had another set point. But again it was Van Streepen who came up with the kill to even the set. And after a Holy Cross attack error and a kill by Kruse, Lehigh pulled out the set 27-25.
“One thing I think our team does really well is when the pressure is on at the end of the game, they really step up,” said Bertucci. “I think the girls came out a little flat but to their credit, they really played well at the end of that first set and that was critical to set the tone for the rest of the match.”
The Mountain Hawks rode the momentum into the next two sets taking them 25-16 and 25-18, respectively. In the second set, Lehigh had 18 kills and just three errors while putting up 17 kills in the third set.
Along with the trio of Kruse, Clark and Kopacz, Jessica Kudirka had 46 assists as the Mountain Hawks put up an impressive .277 attack percentage.
Holy Cross was led by Megan Lynch who had a game-high 14 kills.
While Bertucci is happy with the effort and victory, he knows there are still things that need to be worked on going forward.
“We had some silly serving errors,” said Bertucci, whose team had four serving errors. “I think there are some positions we are very good at attacking with the serve and others we need a little more work on.”
Lehigh continues its Patriot League slate when it travels to take on Colgate on Friday, September 30th at 7 p.m. and then at Bucknell Saturday at 4 p.m.
“Those are two tough opponents and both teams will be in contention for qualifying for the league tournament,” said Bertucci. “It will be a real important week coming up and we will have to be at the top of our game.”