Posted: 10/08/2012 | Last updated: October 8, 2012 at 12:41 PM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – After an impressive win in a hostile environment at Lafayette, the Lehigh volleyball team will travel to Villanova to take on the Wildcats in a non-league match against the Big East-foe on Tuesday night. The Mountain Hawks will be searching to avenge a 3-0 loss to Villanova in 2010, the last time the two teams matched-up against each other. Lehigh trails in the all-time series against Nova, 6-23, with its last win against the Wildcats coming in 1985.
The Mountain Hawks picked up three of their six wins against the Wildcats when they rattled off consecutive victories from 1977-1979 that included sweeps in 1977 and 1978. Lehigh will enter Tuesday’s action 6-8 overall with a 3-2 mark in the Patriot League.
In their last match, Lehigh entered a loud, distracting and inimical environment at Lafayette, but the Mountain Hawks were able keep their focus and walk out with a valuable Patriot League victory over the Leopards in straight sets. The first match was an intense battle between the two teams as Lehigh was forced to make a comeback after falling behind 12-7 early in the set. After clawing their way back to tie the set at 19, the Mountain Hawks finished on a 6-2 run to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
The second set was a dominating performance by Lehigh, as the Mountain Hawks opened up an 11-point lead at 18-7. The two teams split the next 14 points but that was enough to give Lehigh the 25-14 set win and a 2-0 advantage in the match.
Set three started with Lehigh falling behind 6-4 but the Mountain Hawks found their game and raced to an 18-10 lead after a 12-6 run. From there, Lehigh closed out the set and the match by scoring seven of the next 17 points for a 25-20 win.
The sweep of the Leopards was the sixth-consecutive win over rival Lafayette and the second-straight sweep of the Leopards.
The Mountain Hawks are led by middle blocker Amanda Clark, as the junior has recorded a team-best 115 kills on the season, averaging 2.56 kps. She is followed by senior Taylor Poole with 110, while freshman Ana Vrhel has hit an impressive .310 thus far with 83 kills. Junior Courtney McCutchan and Poole lead the serving game, each with 15 aces, while junior Rachel Charles and freshman Amy Matula have each registered 13 apiece. Setting specialist Dana Raber is averaging 5.83 assists per set as she has collected 309 on the year, followed by Matula who is averaging 4.59 aps. On defense, Charles is averaging 4.57 digs per set, while McCutchan averages 2.43 per set. Poole leads the blocking game for the Mountain Hawks with 49 total blocks this season, with a 0.92 bps average, while Vrhel has recorded 36 total blocks for a 0.68 average per set.
Villanova will enter tomorrow’s match 8-10 overall with a 3-2 record in the Big East. The Wildcats are stemming from a 3-1 victory over Georgetown on Saturday in which the two teams split the first two sets before Nova rattled off two consecutive set wins to earn its third Big East win of the season. Senior Krista Anderson led the way for the Villanova attack, registering a game-high 13 kills, giving her 146 on the season, good for second on the team. Three other Wildcats collected nine kills on the night, including Lauren Carpenter, giving the freshman a team-high 180 kills thus far, as she averages a team-leading 2.69 kills per set. The freshman setting specialist Emma Pettit posted 39 assists against the Hoyas, as she is averaging 7.75 per set with 442 on the season.
On defense, freshman Gabby Pethokoukis blocked a total of seven shots against Georgetown, as she continues to be a force for the Wildcat blocking game, averaging 1.14 per set on the year. Mariah Henley dug 19 balls on the night, as the junior averages 5.61 per set thus far, followed by sophomore Allie DiBernardo, who recorded 12 against the Hoyas and is averaging 2.90 per set on the season.
Tomorrow's tilt will also be a homecoming for graduate assistant coach Amy Gulyas, as she was a member of the Wildcats from 2006-09, earning Big East Academic All-Star honors each season.
After tomorrow’s match, the Mountain Hawks will continue on their road trip with a journey to West Point, N.Y. for a Friday night Patriot League match-up with the Army Black Knights on Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.
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