Lehigh defeats Delaware State in four sets Tuesday
DOVER, Del. – Coming off a tough loss in its previous match, the Lehigh volleyball team (15-8, 6-3 PL) rebounded and defeated Delaware State (3-17, 2-5 MEAC) in four sets Tuesday in a non-league match. The Mountain Hawks won the first two sets before dropping the third, but then came back to cruise in the fourth set. Paige Kruse led the way with a match-high 11 kills while Lehigh tied a season high with 12 service aces.
Lehigh got off to a slow start in the first set as it was down 6-4. But then the Mountain Hawks woke up and scored nine unanswered points to take a 15-4 lead en route to 25-16 set victory.
In the second set, Lehigh left right off where it started as it got out a 9-3 lead. But Delaware State showed no quit and cut the lead to 15-14 and 19-17. That would be as close as the Hornets would get however as the Mountain Hawks scored six straight points to win the set 25-17 and take a 2-0 lead.
The third set was close until the halfway mark. With Lehigh trailing 11-9, Delaware State extended its lead with six straight points to take a 17-9 lead. The Mountain Hawks then fought off three straight set points to cut the lead to 24-22 but were unable to complete the comeback as Lehigh dropped the third set 25-22.
Lehigh came back in the fourth set and scored six unanswered points to extend a 4-2 lead to 10-2. The Mountain Hawks never looked back as they took the set easily 25-10.
Along with Kruse, Angelika Kopacz added nine kills while Taylor Poole had eight. Jade Van Streepen had seven kills and Courtney McCutchan had six kills. Also, five Mountain Hawks had at least two service aces as Rachel Charles lead the way with three. Lehigh entered the match ranked No. 4 in the nation in aces per set (1.86) while Charles ranked No. 14 (0.49).
"The 12 aces were good, the girls were serving tough," said head coach Bob Bertucci. "The one thing we need to work on though is that we had a long streak of points going at least six times and we were the ones who ended the streak with a missed serve. We need to clean that up and if we can get better with that going into our final games then that will help us tremendously."
Delaware State was led by Edarkis Branch and Jessica Russell-Croucher as the duo each had six kills.
It was Lehigh's last non-league match as the Mountain Hawks will return to its Patriot League slate when it travels to take on rival Lafayette Friday at 7 p.m. Lehigh won the first match earlier in the season when the Mountain Hawks defeated the Leopards in an exciting five-set match.