Charles named Libero of the Year, three named All-League
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Sophomore Rachel Charles was named the Patriot League Libero of the Year while junior Taylor Poole was named to the First Team All-League and seniors Angelika Kopacz and Jessica Kudirka were named to the Second Team All-League. The four of them have helped lead the Mountain Hawks to a No. 3 seed in this weekend’s Patriot League Tournament, Lehigh's second appearance in three years.
Charles enters this weekend third in the League rankings averaging 4.22 digs per set and finished league play second with 4.19 per set. The Farmington Mills, Mich. native is in a four-way tie for the most digs in a match this season by any Patriot League player with 32, which she accomplished in a four-set victory over Princeton September 17th. The 32 digs was also a career high for Charles. Her best showing during League play was a 25-dig performance in Lehigh’s four-set loss to Army September 23rd.
Charles also leads the league and ranks fifth in the Nation in aces per set (0.55). She has 55 on the season and tied her career-high with six in a five-set win over Lafayette on October 7th.
She is the fourth Mountain Hawk to garner the League’s top defensive award and first since Emma Melendez was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2009.
Poole, who was twice named the Patriot League Player of the Week this season, earns First Team All-League honors for the second straight year. The Keller, Texas native leads the league in hitting percentage during league play this fall as she is hitting .389. Poole set a career high with 18 kills in a five-set win over Colgate on November 5th to help the Mountain Hawks edge out the Raiders for the No. 3 seed in the PL Tournament. In Lehigh’s 14 league matches, Poole has hit over .500 in eight of them.
Kudirka, Lehigh’s setter, is having a career year as she sits second in the league with 10.18 assists per set. Her previous career high came last season when she had 6.40 assists per set. During league matches this year, Kudirka is averaging 10.65 assists per set and is 23 assists away from 1,000 for the season. The Orland Park, Ill. native had a career high 54 assists in a five-set win over Lafayette this season.
Kopacz, who was named to the All-League team two years ago, finished the regular season eighth among League players with 2.68 kills per set. She earned a Patriot League Player of the Week award earlier in the season. The Rutherford, N.J. native finished the regular season with six double-doubles, her best game coming in a four-set loss to Army where she had 16 kills and 16 digs. With an assist from Kudirka, Kopacz had the match-winning kill on their Senior Day in a five-set win over Colgate.
American's Sarah Rishell was named the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year while Army's Mary Vaccaro was the Setter of the Year and American's Barry Goldberg was named the Coach of the Year. Lehigh's three All-League players are tied for second most in the league with Army and Colgate whiel American has four players on the team.
Charles, Poole, Kopacz, Kudirka and the rest of the Mountain Hawks will take the court Saturday at 5 p.m. in the semifinals of the Patriot League Tournament in Washington, D.C. where the No. 3 seed Lehigh will take on the No. 2 seed Army. Should Lehigh win, it will play the following day in the Championship game 2 p.m. against the winner of No. 1 American vs. No. 4 Colgate.