Posted: 08/13/2012 | Last updated: August 13, 2012 at 10:50 AM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Lehigh volleyball team kicked off preseason practice over the weekend, looking to build off last season’s strong 19-win campaign. After meetings on Friday, the Mountain Hawks hit the courts Saturday before a team getaway Sunday which included hiking, canoeing and other outdoor activities. Lehigh is looking to advance to its second straight Patriot League Tournament and third in the past four seasons.
“What we see is everybody here; that’s a good thing,” said head coach Bob Bertucci. “They’re energetic and ready to go. It’s exciting. We have a lot of enthusiasm right now and I think the girls are ready to go.”
The Mountain Hawks feature a junior-heavy squad of six while two-time All-Patriot League honoree Taylor Poole is the only senior. In addition, the squad has two sophomores along with a big class of six freshmen.
“I think we’re all excited to get back in the gym,” said Poole. “Friday night, we got in an open gym; it was the first time we’ve all played together. It’s nice to get some rust off the ball and get everyone back together.”
“We’re going over the basics and going over the things we emphasized last spring,” said Bertucci. “Get the freshmen on board and review it for the upperclassmen. We’re doing quite a bit of passing to start. Passing will be an integral part of our game this year.”
Lehigh impressed with a 19-10 record last year, its most wins since 2002. The Mountain Hawks went 10-4 in league play to earn the #3 seed in the Patriot League Tournament. The highlight victory came against perennial power American on Oct. 15, as Lehigh controlled play against the Eagles in a 3-0 shutout (25-22, 25-14, 25-13).
“Early on, it’s about getting to know each other and getting to play well with each other on the court,” said Poole. “We’re bringing in six new freshmen, which is a big change for our program. As long as we get to play with each other and know each other better, that will be important.
“We definitely want to improve in Patriot League play,” Poole continued. “We have a tougher nonleague schedule this year, which will hopefully help us improve for Patriot League play.”
Like Lehigh Volleyball on Facebook and follow on Twitter for exclusive updates throughout preseason practice. Check back to Lehighsports.com over the coming days to learn more about the incoming freshmen.