Posted: September 20, 2006
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – In their Patriot League opener, the Mountain Hawks won their second game of the season, but ultimately fell to five-time defending league champion American University 3-1 on Wednesday night at the Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall. Game scores were 30-24, 30-32, 30-21 and 30-10. The Mountain Hawks now fall to 0-14 on the season and 0-1 in the Patriot League. American improves its record to 8-6 overall and 1-0 in the Patriot League.
“It was a great first effort,” said head coach Amanda Moran. “We had tremendous play. After tonight, the team knows they can compete with every team in this league.”
In the first game, American jumped out to a quick lead, but the Mountain Hawks rallied back, cutting an eight point deficit to two. However, American gained control of the game, getting the last few points it needed.
It was Lehigh’s turn to jump to the quick lead in the second game, at one point holding a 5-1 lead over the Eagles. American came back to tie the match 7-7 as the two teams battled their way to 30 points with neither team having a lead greater than four points. The Eagles forced the game into overtime when Rubena Sukaj’s kill tied the game at 29-29. Amongst loud home crowd, freshman Lindsay Brown had the game’s final kill to give Lehigh a 32-30 victory.
American rebounded from the loss, coming back to take the final two games. The Eagles opened up the fourth game with 11-straight points before Lehigh was able to score its first point of the game.
“We just had a mental breakdown out there,” said Moran. “That was not our team at all in the fourth game.”
Leading the way for the Mountain Hawks was senior Michelle Schwendenmann, who recorded her second double-double of the season. Schwendenmann had team highs of 14 kills and 15 digs. Freshmen Brittany Thurston and Suzee Richter each recorded season high kill totals. Thurston made 13 kills while Richter had 11. Freshman Sarah Wolfe put up a match high of 39 assists. Senior Courtney Cherry and sophomore Tory Marion also put up season high dig totals with 11 and 10 digs, respectively.
American had three players achieve a double-double—Sukaj, Julia Borecka and Elizabeth Maloney. Sukaj had a match high 22 kills while recording 11 digs. Sukaj also had the top hitting percentage of the match with .419. Broecka had 14 kills and 12 digs. Maloney had 12 kills and 11 digs while recording a match-high six service aces. Ivana Cebakova led the match with 23 digs while Christina Nash paced the offense with 30 assists.
Lehigh will return to action on Friday at the Leeman-Turner Arena when the Mountain Hawks host the Navy Midshipmen. Match time is set for 7:00pm.