Posted: October 26, 2007
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – In front of a packed house at Taylor Gym Friday night, the Mountain Hawks snapped their six match losing streak with a 3-2 win over archrival Lafayette. The game scores were 21-30, 32-30, 30-28, 26-30 and 19-17. With the win the Brown and White also broke its eight match losing streak against the Leopards. Lehigh picks up its second conference win of the season, improving its record to 5-17 (2-8), while Lafayette falls to 12-15 (3-7).
“I’m so proud of the way we played,” said head coach Jenny Maurer. “We played with intensity, stayed disciplined and played Lehigh volleyball. To be able to put together a strong finish like that shows a lot about our mental toughness.”
Lehigh struggled in the first game committing 11 errors, while only converting 10 kills, for an attack percentage of -.021. Maurer was able to rally her troops before the start of the second game and the Mountain Hawks played with the intensity they have been looking for all season.
Shannon Spafford picked up six kills and four blocks in the second game and Brittany Thurston added another three kills and eight digs to secure the win. The Mountain Hawks hitting drastically improved between their first and second games, as Lehigh committed just two errors in the second game and hit .271.
“We talked about staying together as a family and working as a whole,” said Maurer. “If someone struggled, someone else was there to pick up the slack.”
Lehigh’s hitting success continued into the third game as the Mountain Hawks committed just four errors and added 14 kills, for an attack percentage of .278. Spafford added another four kills and three blocks in the game.
The Brown and White struggled to finish the Leopards off in the fourth game, as Lehigh had a match high 13 errors and hit a match low -.047. In the deciding game, the action swayed back and forth with Lehigh ultimately coming out on top. Lehigh clinched the win when Michaela Donohue attacked the ball into the Lehigh court, but Spafford and Kristin Musbach came up with the huge block to give the Mountain Hawks the 19-17 win.
Spafford finished one block shy of a triple-double, as she ended the match with 22 kills, 12 digs and nine blocks. For the senior, it was her last chance to come away with a victory over Lafayette and she would not let this one slip away.
“It’s just a testament to how hard she works and how badly she wanted this win,” said Maurer of Spafford. “This was the first time in her career she has beaten Lafayette. All match she was playing with so much energy and intensity because she knew how much was riding on this game.”
Two other Lehigh players finished the match with double-doubles; Mo McReynolds had 15 kills and 10 digs and Brittany Thurston had 14 kills and 22 digs. The Mountain Hawks finished the match with season highs in blocks (16), kills (65), assists (59) and digs (84).
Lafayette was led the Donohue with 16 kills and 19 digs, while Maura Kelly added another 11 kills and 10 digs. Megan Carter also contributed with 60 assists, 10 digs and five kills.
Lehigh returns to action on Tuesday for its final non-conference game against the Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens at 7 p.m. in Newark, Del.