Spike after spike after spike, the Lehigh women’s volleyball team routed Patriot League rival Colgate University in straight sets Friday night at Grace Hall.
Lehigh improved its record to 12-2 in the conference and 19-9 overall. Outside hitters senior Jade Van Streepen and freshman Whitney Krantz led the way with 14 kills apiece, and sophomore libero Mariah Brantley led all players with 17 digs. Lehigh won the match 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-14).
Although the ultimate result was what the girls hoped for, they struggled to start sets well as they fell down to Colgate 4-0 and 5-0 in the first and second sets, respectively. Coach Bob Bertucci was dissatisfied with the way the team started off the first set as he burnt a timeout early in the first set down 4-0.
After that, the Mountain Hawks were flying high. The turning point of the match was an 8-2 scoring run to finish off the second set capped off with a Van Streepen kill. With this momentum, the girls steamrolled the Raiders in the third set, beating them 25-14.
In the locker room after the second set, Bertucci stressed the importance of not taking a break in the third. In the last match against Colgate, the girls surrendered a two-set lead to lose the match 3-2. However, this time, the Mountain Hawks refused to let history repeat itself as they finished off Colgate with power.
“It was really our team that stepped up and decided that we weren’t going to let that happen again,” Van Steepen said.
If revenge wasn’t enough of an incentive, the girls were determined to keep their winning streak alive. They are carrying an overall seven-game winning streak and have not lost at home in conference play this season. They have only lost one set at home in league play the entire season.
“In the middle of game three, Ana (Vrhel) said, ‘Let’s go undefeated in the Patriot League at home,’” Krantz said. She also credited their home success to the fans.
“We have a lot of good supporters who come out and that really helps,” she said. “I think anything is possible when we are at home.”
Bertucci was very pleased with the win Friday night over an impressive opponent.
“The Colgate team we saw tonight was a better Colgate team than we saw a month and half ago up at Colgate,” he said. He added that the performance from Krantz was so important.
“Whitney just played phenomenal…She really helped us out because Morgan Lowe has been out for a little bit now, and she just stepped in and really did a great job for us,” he said.
As the team is wrapping up their season and the anticipated Patriot League tournament is rapidly approaching, the girls strive to continue their recent success.
“I think that we are right at the peak of our game right now, which is right where we want to be at the end of the season,” Van Streepen said.
The Mountain Hawks will try to keep the momentum going as they will battle at Bucknell University on Saturday night at 5 p.m.