Lehigh beats Navy 3-0 in final regular season match
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Lehigh women’s volleyball team defeated Navy Saturday in straight sets in the final regular season match. The Mountain Hawks were led by senior Angelika Kopacz who had a game-high 11 kills. With the victory, Lehigh secured the No. 3 seed in the Patriot League Tournament and will take on No. 2 Army in the semifinals on Saturday, November 19th at 5 p.m. in Washington, D.C.
Along with Kopacz, junior Taylor Poole who is coming off her second Patriot League Player of the Week Award this season added nine kills on 17 attack attempts and just two errors for a .412 hitting percentage. She entered the week ranked first in the Patriot League in the category hitting .322. Poole also added three service aces as did sophomore Rachel Charles as Lehigh had 10 for the match. Charles entered the week ranked No. 7 in the nation in aces per set (0.52) as the Mountain Hawks are ranked No. 5 in the category (1.85).
“That was definitely one of the goals of the year,” said Bob Bertucci. “They fell a little bit short last year of the Tournament and being able to make it this year is real nice but our work isn’t done yet.
Lehigh got off to a quick start in the first set jumping out to a 10-5 lead. Then the Mountain Hawks used a pair of runs including scoring seven straight points en route to a 25-15 first-set victory. Lehigh had 14 kills and five errors on 24 attack attempts for a stellar .375 hitting percentage.
In the second set, the Mountain Hawks led 6-2 early before Navy fought back to take a 10-8 lead. The teams exchanged points for most of the middle of the set. Tied at 16-16, Lehigh pulled ahead thanks to a pair of Kopacz kills as the Mountain Hawks then scored four straight points to extend its lead and win the second set 25-19.
The third set was all Lehigh. The Mountain Hawks got out a 7-1 lead and never looked back slowing building on its lead a Lehigh took the third set 25-18 and the match 3-0.
Lehigh finished the match with a .191 hitting percentage to Navy’s .087 percentage.
“Our serve was the key element for us tonight has been for us all season to be successful,” said Bertucci. “We did that really well tonight.”
Navy was led by Maida Kalic’s eight kills while Erin Fortner added seven kills.
The Mountain Hawks finished the season winning six of its final seven matches. Lehigh’s berth in the Patriot League Tournament is its second in three years and first under first-year head coach Bertucci. In 2009, the No. 4 Mountain Hawks fell to No. 1 Army in the Patriot League Semifinals in straight sets.
Lehigh will be looking to avenge that loss as the Mountain Hawks will hope to win their first Patriot League Tournament match since 2002. Lehigh fell twice to Army this season, both in four sets as the Mountain Hawks will look to defeat the Black Knights for the first time since a straight-set victory in 2003.
“I’m excited to play Army,” said Bertucci. “I think we are capable of winning but we have to play a really clean, almost perfect game. We can’t make errors and have silly turnovers and give them free points. We were still plagued by that this weekend and we have to clean up that if we want to beat a very good Army team.”
In the other semifinal, it will be No. 1 American vs. No. 4 Colgate at 2 p.m. The Championship match will be the following day at 2 p.m.