BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh volleyball team (15-8, 6-3 PL) will travel to take on rival Lafayette (8-14, 1-8 PL) Friday night at 7 p.m. The first time these two teams met, it ended in an exciting five-set victory for the Mountain Hawks. Lehigh was up 2-0 before dropping the next two sets, but then cruised in the decisive set. Since that match, the two clubs have taken off in opposite directions as Lafayette has gone 1-5 while Lehigh has gone 4-1.
The Mountain Hawks are coming of a 1-1 league weekend, beating Holy Cross and then losing to Army. Lehigh most recently beat Delaware State in four sets on Tuesday night. The Mountain Hawks are led by Angelika Kopacz and Paige Kruse. Kopacz leads the team with 219 kills and 2.70 kills per set which ranks her eighth in the Patriot League while Kruse is close behind her with 196 kills and 2.51 kills per set which ranks her 10th.
In league matches this year, Lehigh has done a great job defensively holding opponents to a .158 attack percentage which ranks second in the league. On the attack side, Taylor Poole is hitting .363 in league matches which ranks her second in the league.
One of the keys to the Mountain Hawks success is their serve. Lehigh entered the week ranked No. 4 in the nation in aces per set (1.86) while Rachel Charles ranked No. 14 (0.49). In the Delaware State game, Lehigh had 12 service aces to raise its average to 1.92 per set.
Lafayette is the second-best serving team in the league as it averages 1.83 service aces per set. The Leopards are led by Kaitlynn Zoller who leads the team with 171 kills and 2.28 kills per set while Camissa Beghou is close behind with 165 kills and 2.12 kills per set. They are also led by Christy Mebust who is first in the league with 4.57 digs per set.
In the first match this season between these historic rivals, Lizzy Silverstein had a career-high 18 kills surpassing her previous high of nine. In that match, Lehigh struggled after jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead (25-22, 25-16). The Mountain Hawks became complacent and Lafayette started to build momentum as Lehigh dropped the next two sets 25-22, 25-20. In the fifth set, though, Lehigh turned things around en route to a 15-8 set and match win.
Friday night’s match will be the 76th meeting between Lehigh-Lafayette since 1974 as the Mountain Hawks hold a 46-29 edge, including a 28-17 advantage since meeting as Patriot League opponents.
Lehigh is 2-2 in league road matches this year while Lafayette’s lone Patriot League win came at home on October 15th in a four-set win over Navy.
The Mountain Hawks currently sit tied for third in the league and they will look to solidify a hold on one of those precious top four spots which comes with Patriot League Tournament berth.
Along with LIVE stats, there will be LIVE video available on the Lafayette Sports Network.