WORCESTER, Mass. – The Lehigh volleyball team (14-7, 6-2 PL) defeated Holy Cross (6-18, 2-6 PL) in straight sets (25-9, 25-23, 25-17) Friday night for the Mountain Hawks’ fifth-straight victory. Lehigh was led by Paige Kruse’s seven kills as five different Mountain Hawks had at least five kills while Lehigh had its highest attack percentage (.317) in a Patriot League match this season.
“Our goal was to hit .275 and we obviously surpassed that number so that’s a good thing,” said head coach Bob Bertucci. “I thought defensively we did a pretty good job as well. It was very good effort all around.”
Lehigh jumped out to a quick start and never trailed in the opening set. At 3-3, the Mountain Hawks scored six straight points and never looked back. Lehigh had two more 6-0 runs en route to a 25-9 set victory. The Mountain Hawks had 12 kills and just one attack error for a stellar .524 attack percentage while Lehigh held Holy Cross to just four kills and 12 errors for a -0.276 attack percentage.
It wasn’t as easy in the second set however as the game was close until the very end. Lehigh held a 21-18 lead late in the set but Holy Cross scored three unanswered points to even things up. The teams exchanged points until at 23-23, Jade Van Streepen had one of her six kills to give the Mountain Hawks set point and then Taylor Poole had a block to win the set for Lehigh 25-23.
Lehigh rode the momentum in the third set as it never trailed. The Mountain Hawks got out to a 10-5 lead and while the Crusaders would cut the lead to 15-12, that is as close as they would get as Lehigh pulled away late in the set to win the game and match 25-17.
“The first game we came out really strong and they were making a lot of errors and we just kept the pressure on,” said Bertucci. “In the second game, I think we let up a little bit and gave them a chance to get back into it but we took care of the ball and got the lead back and that carried into the third game.”
Kruse had seven kills on 14 attempts and one error for a .429 attack percentage to lead the way as it was a full team effort. Van Streepen, Amanda Clark and Lizzy Silverstein each added six kills while Taylor Poole had five kills on 12 attack attempts and no errors for a .417 attack percentage. Poole now has a .380 attack percentage in league matches this season.
“We need to have a lot of players playing well to be successful,” said Bertucci. “That’s what we did against American and we did again tonight. I think that’s a key for us to have everyone involved.”
Holy Cross was led by Megan Lynch who had a match-high 10 kills while Kathleen Colpoys added six kills.
Lehigh will look to keep its winning ways going when takes on a tough Army team Saturday at 4 p.m. Army is coming off a 3-1 win over Lafayette Friday night. In the first meeting between Lehigh-Army earlier this season, the Mountain Hawks fell in four sets.
“We need to have a hitting percentage of about .300 and that’s going to be difficult because Army because tremendous defense,” said Bertucci. “That will put a lot of pressure on us and our serve needs to be better so we can play strong defense.”
There will be LIVE stats and LIVE webcast available for the match.