After a slow start to the season, the Lehigh women’s volleyball team will look to add to its five-game winning streak this week against Bucknell University, Colgate University and Fordham University.
In recent weeks, Lehigh has hit its stride by defeating five consecutive Patriot League opponents to place the team atop the conference with a record of 5-0.
“Having a 5-0 start so far has really motivated us to keep playing at a high standard,” sophomore Mariah Brantley said. “Being a relatively young team, getting these three games under our belt will definitely boost our confidence.”
At the start of the season, Lehigh faced some adversity with an overall record of 3-6. However, the team appeared to gain momentum at the Crosstown Invitational starting Sept. 12 by defeating Saint Peter’s University and Delaware State University 3-0. Since then, the team has won seven out of their last eight matches to propel them to an overall record of 10-7.
“We have been working really hard in practices in order to prepare for the upcoming matches,” freshman Kelly Bennett said. “If we beat these three teams, then we will be undefeated in the Patriot League with a 7-0 record. That’s our goal, and we are ready to work for it.”
On offense, Lehigh has been led by senior Jade Van Streepen,who has posted 141 kills on the season. Close behind are junior Stephanie Slater and sophomore Morgan Lowe with 127 kills. Junior Amy Matula has also been very effective this year for the Mountain Hawks, posting a staggering 551 assists. In her sophomore season, Matula led the team with 979 assists, which ranked 10th all-time on Lehigh’s single season records.
Bucknell has struggled this year, posting a 2-10 overall record and a 1-3 record in the Patriot League. Colgate has also had a rough start, going 0-2 in the Patriot League and 6-6 overall. Colgate’s winless record places them last in the conference with Loyola University Maryland, which is also 0-2.
Despite the optimistic view in the standings, the Lehigh team has been focused on its preparation and playing its brand of volleyball to emerge victorious.
“Mostly our preparation has been focusing on our team and controlling our side of the net,” sophomore Taylor Carroll said. “Before games we go over film and discuss the other team’s tendencies, but for the most part we focus on what we need to do as a team to be successful. Anytime we win against a Patriot League team is great, and this will be a big weekend for us. Both teams are competitive teams, so to come out on top this weekend would mean a lot to our team.”
With the recent losing streaks of Lafayette and Loyola, the results in the Patriot League have been very unexpected this year. With the conference tournament close to a month away, teams will be vying for a competitive advantage come playoff time.
“Well, there have recently been a lot of upsets in the league this past week,” Brantley said. “Different teams are coming out a lot stronger than last year so we definitely have to be ready for anything.”
The Mountain Hawks will face off against Bucknell on Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. at Grace Hall, then travel to Hamilton, New York, to play Colgate on Oct. 4. From there, the team will return home on Oct.7 to square off against Fordham at 7 p.m.