The Lehigh Mountain Hawks’ women’s volleyball team traveled to Easton and scored a big 3-1 win against long-time rival Lafayette College on Wednesday evening
This result marks Lehigh’s tenth-straight win over Lafayette. The Mountain Hawks start Patriot League play with this crucial win and move up to 6-7 in the process.
One of the key players in Thursday’s match was sophomore outside hitter Morgan Lowe with 14 kills and 14 digs to register a double-double. Mariah Brantley, a sophomore libero, came out with a team-best of 19 digs. Other standout performers included senior outside hitter Kaylylnn Genemares with ten kills, junior setter Amy Matula with 34 assists and 14 digs, and junior middle blocker Ana Vrhel with four blocks and six kills.
Lehigh initially got off to a 3-0 start in the opening set thanks to kills from Lowe and Vrhel, assisted by a service ace from junior setter Claire Bradshaw. Lafayette pushed to tie the score until the Mountain Hawks advanced their lead, thanks to a spike from Genermares, to top a 4-1 Lehigh run. This would close set one and leave Lehigh with a 25-15 victory.
In the second set, Lafayette fought back after Lehigh gained an early lead. At one point, a kill from Elizabeth Walsh put Lafayette in the lead at 15-14. This did not last long, as Lehigh came back with a 4-0 run consisting of two service aces from sophomore middle blocker Katie Jennison, one kill from Lowe and a block from Vrhel. Lehigh finished with a 25-20 victory in set two, and 2-0 overall lead.
Junior Stephanie Slater, who came in with kill in the second set, was confident in the team’s ability and strength during this match. “I think that we competed really well tonight…We played great defense and never gave up” Slater said. “One thing that we could improve on is bouncing back from mistakes quicker. We would make an error and let Lafayette get on a run.”
At one point in the third set, Lafayette had a 17-10 lead, until Lehigh fought back with blocks from sophomore middle blocker Taylor Carroll and junior outside hitter Leah Turner to close the deficit to 18-15. Lehigh tied Lafayette at 22 thanks to kills from Lowe and Turner. However, due to an error on the Lehigh side, Lafayette secured a 25-23 victory in set three.
Taylor Carroll’s twin, Kianna, also a sophomore the team, highlighted on the strengths in their ability to compete at their rivals’ turf.
“We did a good job staying focused and keeping our composure because the fans were very rowdy and constantly yelling at us and trying to mess us up,” she said. Moving forward, Kianna emphasized that the team should be playing at their level of volleyball no matter the level of competition.
Sophomore outside hitter Morgan Lowe said that into this weekend, the biggest change needed to make is focusing more on serving.
“We had more serving errors than we should have had, and that’s definitely an aspect of the game that we are always able to control, so we need to improve in that area,” Lowe said.
The fourth and final set was close the whole way through. Lehigh finished ahead to earn a 25-22 victory in set four and a final 3-1 overall match victory.
Lehigh plays at home Friday at 7 p.m. against Holy Cross, and home again on Saturday against Army at 4 p.m. Both matches will be broadcast free of charge on the Patriot League Network.