The last time Lehigh was able to defeat Army on the latter’s home court in West Point, New York, was in 2003. On Friday night, when the Black Knights took the first set from the Mountain Hawks, it looked as though it may another year until Lehigh could notch another victory against Army.
Lehigh had other plans, however, as the team rolled through Army in the next three sets to win the match 3-1 and sweep its two-game regular season series.
Seniors Kaylynn Genemaras and Jade Van Streepen closed the door late in the second set to even the match up. The Mountain Hawks’ third set began with an 11-1 lead that grew to a 24-13 advantage over the Black Knights, who fought back to make it 24-17 before allowing the set point.
One final set was all Lehigh needed because its momentum was too much for Army. The final match statistics showed coach Bob Bertucci has created a winning dynamic around good team play. This was evident in the win against Army.
Eight members of the team contributed points for the Mountain Hawks. Van Streepen led the way with 19 points, along with freshman Whitney Krantz’s 15.5 points. Sophomore Mariah Brantley had a team-high 16 digs, and junior Amy Matula made 39 of the team’s 49 assists.
For Van Streepen, beating Army on the road was an amazing feeling
“We were ahead the whole first game and lost it right at the end,” she said. “So it was awesome to be able to come back strong and win the next three sets.”
However, the Mountain Hawks had little time to celebrate as they hit the road to face their next Patriot League opponent
Lehigh headed to Worcester, Massachusetts, for its second game against the College of Holy Cross this season. Lehigh dominated Holy Cross in the first game of the series, beating the Crusaders in straight sets on their home court. This time around, it wouldn’t be as easy for the Hawks as the match went the distance for five sets.
In the first set, the Crusaders capitalized on a few Mountain Hawk errors to take a lead advantage of nine points. Lehigh fought to bring that lead down to three, but Holy Cross held on to take set one 25-20.
Down 1-0, Lehigh responded the same way it did against Army.The team held a lead through the set, which prevented Holy Cross from building any type of momentum. Junior Stephanie Slater made her presence known with a kill to end the second set 25-17.
The match was knotted up at 1-1 heading into the third.
The lead went back and forth between Holy Cross and Lehigh until Holy Cross returned possession back to Lehigh late in the set. Tied at 17, both teams fought hard to gain command, but the Crusaders came out of the set victorious. Lehigh tried to stave off set point twice before falling 25-23 in the set and 2-1 in the match
With their backs against the wall, the Hawks needed to win the next two sets to earn the victory. The team got out ahead from the start, but eventually the Crusaders caught up and took the lead. However, kills from juniors Leah Turner and Ana Vrhel regained an advantage for Lehigh as they won the fourth set 25-20.
The deciding fifth set to 15 points started with a strong showing from Van Streepen, Turner and Vrhel, and Lehigh led by five going into a timeout. Both teams battled back and forth until Vrhel put Lehigh ahead 12-8. Van Streepen shut the door with the Mountain Hawks’ last two points, sealing the season sweep of the Crusaders by a score of 15-10
Again, Lehigh spread the wealth on the offensive end with eight different scorers. This time, Turner was the leader with 21.5 points, followed by Vrhel’s 18.5 points. Vrhel had a career night for Lehigh as she tied her career high of 17 kills with an accurate attack percentage .448. Matula had an excellent night, posting all but one of the team’s 60 assists
As the season winds down, Lehigh has continued to impress by posting an overall record of 16-9 and improving to 9-2 in Patriot League play. The Mountain Hawks have kept it loose in the locker room with music and pregame dancing, and they look to keep that rhythm going as they face Loyola University (Maryland) on Friday.