Volleyball opens season against Rider on Sunday
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh will play host to Rider University on Sunday as the Mountain Hawks will start their 2012 campaign at the Leeman-Turner Arena at 6 p.m. Lehigh is coming off a third place finish in the Patriot League last season and is hoping to rebound from an early exit from the postseason. Two-time first team All-Patriot League selection Taylor Poole looks to help guide the Mountain Hawks back to the Patriot League Tournament for the second straight season.
Lehigh lost two of its key players from the 2011 squad but is hoping Poole along with 2011 Patriot League Libero of the Year Rachel Charles can provide enough leadership to make a deep run into the postseason. Former co-captains Angelika Kopacz and Jessica Kudirka departed from the team but the Mountain Hawks will turn towards the experienced returnees such as junior Courtney McCutchan, who started 25 games last season and recorded 163 kills, 21 aces and 206 digs and sophomore Jade Van Streepen who is seeking to follow-up a solid freshman performance that included 109 kills, 38 digs and 19 blocks.
Lehigh earned the #3 seed in the Patriot League Tournament but was bounced by Army in the semifinals, 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-19).
The Broncs will come into Sunday’s action having already played three matches including a contest Sunday morning at Lafayette. Rider finished 2011 in ninth place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (5-25, 3-15 MAAC) but is searching to improve. The Broncs welcome back Jacyln Webber as their primary offense weapon. In her freshman season, Webber recorded a team-leading 303 kills, along with 20 aces and 222 digs. Stephanie Nagy and Kayla Wong also return for Rider and are looked upon to provide leadership as the two combined for 489 kills in 2011.
Live broadcast of the contest will be available on Lehighsports.com. In their next match, the Mountain Hawks will travel to play in the University of Virginia Tournament from August 31 to September 1.