HAMILTON, N.Y. – The Lehigh volleyball team rebounded from last night’s loss to knock off the Patriot League-leading Raiders, handing Colgate its first league loss by a final score of 3-1. After dropping the first set, the Mountain Hawks rallied for three-consecutive set wins, as junior Amanda Clark led all attackers with a game-high 20 kills on the night. Lehigh will now return home to face non-league opponent Delaware State on Tuesday, which will begin a six-game homestand to close out the regular season.
"I thought we were playing with a lot more effort and aggressiveness," said head coach Bob Bertucci. "Last night really helped our game to play in that environment and they carried that effort into today’s match. Their desire was very evident tonight."
The first set began with the Raiders jumping out to a 5-1 lead, but Lehigh battled back and eventually tied the game at 11. The match would remain close as the Raiders were able to gain a small lead, but Lehigh did not give much room when the Mountain Hawks fought to keep the game within one point after a kill by junior Courtney McCutchan. Colgate then took the next four points to open up a five-point advantage on Lehigh at 19-14, but the Mountain Hawks remained resilient as they rattled off five consecutive points to knot the set at 19. The Raiders finished the first set on a 6-3 run to close out a win and take a 1-0 lead in the match.
The first set was all Lehigh would allow on the night, as the second set started with the Mountain Hawks jumping out to a 9-5 lead, forcing a Colgate timeout. Out of the break, the Raiders scored the first point, but Lehigh took the next four after a kill by senior Taylor Poole to take a 13-6 lead. The Raiders mounted a small rally to get the game within four points at 13-9, but Lehigh was able to keep a consistent gap in the score as it finished off a 25-16 set win with an ace by junior libero Rachel Charles.
With the match even at one game apiece, the two teams played a hard-fought third match as neither team was able to gain a definitive advantage as the score reached 12-12. Lehigh then crept away with a 17-14 lead, but Colgate rebounded to tie the game at 17 apiece after three-straight points. From there, the set remained close, but the Mountain Hawks were able to finish on an 8-4 run, capped by a kill from junior Amanda Clark to take a 25-21 set win and a 2-1 lead in the match.
"We basically shutdown their outside hitters who were very effective the last time and played a steady game ourselves and were much more stable on our side of the court," said Bertucci.
With the win within reach, Lehigh started the fourth set by jumping out to a 12-6 lead. The Mountain Hawks were able to keep the six-point lead as the set reached 16-10 after a kill by Clark. Lehigh finished off the fourth set by splitting the last 18 points for a 25-19 set win and a 3-1 match win that ended with a kill by Clark.
Clark knocked down a game-high 20 kills, hitting .356 for the match to lead the Mountain Hawk offense. Sophomore southpaw Kaylynn Genemaras collected nine kills, while Poole and McCutchan followed with eight apiece. Junior Dana Raber registered a team-high 26 assists, followed closely by freshman Amy Matula who added 25 of her own. Charles continued to excel on defense, digging a game-high 32 balls, while Poole recorded seven total blocks.
"I think Amanda did a really nice job with attacking and she’s very consistent with her play," said Bertucci. "That’s what we need right now because we have the talent. Rachel had an outstanding game defensively and was complimented by the other players. She has been a rock for us all year and her passing was on-point tonight."
With the win, the Mountain Hawks improve to 5-4 in the Patriot League. They will return home for the first time since September 22 when they host Delaware State on Tuesday, October 23 for a non-league match slated to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday’s match will kick off a six-game homestand to end the regular season, which includes five-consecutive Patriot League games.