Lehigh to clash with Rutgers Tuesday
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh volleyball team will welcome the Rutgers Scarlet Knights into Leeman-Turner Arena inside Grace Hall for a Tuesday night showdown with the Big East-foe. The Mountain Hawks will take the court for their second home match of the 2012 season after a nine-day hiatus from game action in search of stopping a three-game skid, while also trying to slow a surging Rutgers team that has won eightstraight games, including four consecutive sweeps.
The Mountain Hawks hold a 3-10 all-time record against the Scarlet Knights with their last meeting taking place in 2011 that ended in a 3-0 Rutgers win in Piscataway, N.J. Lehigh has not beaten the Scarlet Knights since a 3-1 victory in 1993 but the two teams have only matched up three times since then with Rutgers taking nine straight sets from the Mountain Hawks.
Lehigh will enter tomorrow night’s match-up with a 1-3 record on the season after scuffling against premiere teams at the Holiday Inn Jefferson Cup Tournament at the University of Virginia. The tournament did showcase a bright spot for Lehigh, as junior libero Rachel Charles was named to the All-Tournament team after recording five serving aces and 41 digs throughout the three games. Charles collected a season-high 20 digs in the opening match of the tournament against Delaware and has been a solid force in the middle of a Mountain Hawk line-up that has played intense competition to start the season.
Freshman Ana Vrhel leads the Lehigh attack with a Patriot League-best hitting percentage of .370, while senior Taylor Poole and junior Courtney McCutchan share the lead in kills with 31 apiece, followed by Vrhel with 26 and sophomore Jade Van Streepen with 24. Poole is second in the Patriot League with an average of 0.64 aces per game, while junior Dana Raber leads the Mountain Hawks with 72 assists, which translates to 5.14 assists per game, good for eighth-best in the Patriot League.
The Scarlet Knights come into tonight’s game boasting a youthful roster that includes eight freshmen and a powerful offensive attack. The 10-1 Scarlet Knights are off to their best start since the 1996 season and are led by freshman Sarah Schmid, who ranks first in the Big East with a .459 hitting percentage, connecting on a team-leading 135 kills. Fellow freshman Alex Lassa is sixth in the Big East with 3.79 kills per set, while senior Alex Jones is fresh off garnering the Tournament MVP award after recording 28 kills in the Spartan Classic in Norfolk, Va.
After tomorrow’s match, the Mountain Hawks will travel to Texas to take on Prairie View A&M in the opening game of the TCU Molten Invitational Tournament on Sept. 14 at 5:30 p.m.