Coach Bob Bertucci talks strategy for the upcoming game against Colgate with the team on Nov. 4, 2014. The volleyball team prepared for its upcoming games against Colgate on November 7 and Bucknell on November 8. (Rory Siegel/B&W photo)

Volleyball to face Patriot League rivals Colgate, Bucknell

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The Lehigh women’s volleyball team has not succumbed to a loss since Oct. 11 against American University by a score of 3-0. Since then, the Hawks have defeated five Patriot League opponents to move into second place within the conference.

Lehigh now stands at 11-2 within the Patriot League and 18-9 overall. They only trail American, which has had a stellar performance this year, going undefeated in the Patriot League at 11-0 and 20-5 overall.

This weekend the Mountain Hawks will take on two more Patriot League opponents. On Nov. 7, Lehigh will square off against Colgate University, which has also looked strong all season. The Raiders stand in third place in the Patriot League, with a record of 8-4 within the conference and 14-8 overall. In its first meeting this season on Oct. 4, Colgate narrowly edged the Hawks 3-2 in Hamilton, New York.

“We are playing Colgate at home, so I think we are looking forward to hopefully changing the result we got the first time we played them, and being at home definitely helps,” senior outside hitter Jade Van Streepen said. However, Lehigh will be looking to overcome a Raiders team that has given them trouble in the past.

“During the first half of our season, we had the same winning streak we now have, but lost it to Colgate,” sophomore hitter Kianna Carroll said. “I think, because of that, the team is very excited and ready to come out on Friday and play a good, competitive game against Colgate.”

But the Mountain Hawks will have a distinct benefit on Friday when they face the Raiders: a home-field advantage. The Hawks have been nearly unbeatable at Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall this season, going 9-1. Their one blemish came against Marist College on Sept. 13.

“We are excited to play Colgate in our home gym,” junior outside hitter Leah Turner said. “We lost a tough five-set match to them in Hamilton earlier this season, and we hope to use the momentum from this past weekend and secure a win over the Raiders.”

Following this match, the team will travel to Lewisburg to face off against Bucknell University. The Bison have not shared the same success as Colgate or Lehigh this season, going just 3-10 in the Patriot League and 4-17 overall. In their previous meeting at Grace Hall on Oct. 3, Lehigh defeated Bucknell 3-0.

“We also should have confidence going into the game against Bucknell because we beat them in the first half of league play,” Van Streepen said. “So, as long as we play to our capability, we should be able to get the same result.”

This weekend’s games are critical for the team as it begins its march toward the Patriot League Championships on Nov. 22. As a result, the team is taking no chances and preparing for each match as though it is a playoff game.

“We’re preparing for the games by watching our previous matches this season against both Colgate and Bucknell to see what we can do better and what worked for us during those matches,” Carroll said. “We also prepare for the games in practice by having our coaches mimic what certain players on the opposing team are going to do so that we can properly defend against them.”

Following this weekend, the Mountain Hawks will have one week to prepare for their season finale against American on Nov. 15 at 4 p.m. in Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall. The Patriot League Tournament will begin Nov. 22.

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