As the Lehigh women’s volleyball season comes to a close, the team has its mind set on one thing: the Patriot League Tournament title. Lehigh is the No. 2 seed in the tournament, right behind American University.
Last year, Lehigh was the No. 4 seed in the Patriot League tournament, but American defeated Lehigh in the first match. American triumphed over Colgate University to win the tournament and claim its 11th title in 13 years.
This year, the Hawks have a shot at redemption with a No. 2 seed and a first match against Navy. In the other match in the first round, top seed American will play Army.
“We have a much younger team this year, but some of the younger players have really stepped up into their roles,” said senior captain Jade Van Streepen. “We also have a lot more depth this year, and people on the bench are always ready to come into the game and contribute.”
The Mountain Hawks have had a positive regular season with a 21-9 overall record and a 14-2 conference record. Their only losses in the Patriot League were in their first games against American and Colgate. However, when Lehigh faced both teams a second time around, Lehigh came out victorious.
“I think that one of our main strengths is how we have been competing under pressure,” junior hitter Stephanie Slater said. “We have been put in some stressful situations this year, but we have responded very well to this pressure.”
This week and last week, the team has been working on strategies to use against the teams that they will most likely face in the tournament.
“Last week, we were really focused on how to beat American in practice, and I think this week, practice will be geared towards Navy,” Van Streepen said.” Some things that we have really emphasized are attacking, serve receiving and ball control on our side of the net.”
If the Hawks win the match against Navy on Saturday, Lehigh will make it to the championship match, which has been a goal for the team since the beginning of preseason. The winner of the Navy versus Lehigh match will then play the winner of the American versus Army match in the championship match Sunday.
“We have already beat every team in the league at least once, and I know we can do it again,” Van Streepen said.” It will be challenging playing at American instead of in our home gym, but I don’t think that will stop us from doing what we need to do.”