The Lehigh volleyball team huddles after scoring a point against Villanova University on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015. Lehigh suffered a 3-0 defeat. (Zion Olojede/B&W Photo)

Lehigh falls to Villanova in three-game sweep

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The Villanova University Wildcats swept the Lehigh women’s volleyball team on Tuesday evening in Grace Hall, ending its four-match winning streak.

The Mountain Hawks (5-3) had the first serve of the game. Senior captain setter Amy Matula won the first two points for Lehigh. Villanova quickly tied it up, winning the next two points.

Villanova and Lehigh were head-to-head during this set, never allowing for more than a four-point difference. With the score rapidly fluctuating in leadership, Lehigh failed to respond in the last two serves of the set allowing Villanova to win 25-23.

The second set was not as impressive, however. The Mountain Hawks allowed for a lead of up to seven points for Villanova at one point. Finally responding after losing five points in a row, sophomore outside hitter Whitney Krantz had a kill to make the second set score 24-18 Villanova. The Hawks continued this response to make the score 24-21 Villanova.

With game point coming soon and the Lehigh crowd getting loud, Villanova called a timeout. Lehigh failed to continue its comeback and Villanova won the second set, 25-21.

To stay in the match, it was key that Lehigh come out strong and win the next set after half time.

However, that did not happen as planned. At one point, Lehigh trailed seven points with a score of 17-10 Villanova. The final score of the set was 25-22 Villanova. This ended the matchup between the two Pennsylvania teams and players and coaches shook hands.

“At times we played well, at times we played tentative, and I think that’s what really hurt us,” coach Bob Bertucci said after the game. “We could be down by five or six points, and we’d play very aggressively and then we’d get to 22-22 and get tentative and then give the game away. That’s how the games were ending for us and we have to get over that.”

In her four years at Lehigh, Matula has never beaten Villanova, except in springtime matchups. She said it is frustrating, especially since Bertucci said Villanova was a beatable team.

“The plan was to hit to one and serve aggressively,” Matula said. “We just didn’t execute like we needed to.”

Bertucci agreed that execution did not go as planned throughout the match.

Both Matula and Bertucci agreed senior setter Claire Bradshaw had a good game, winning Lehigh 10 digs. Bradshaw mentioned the lack of execution in the plan as well.

“I think we needed to execute our game plan better in order to win,” Bradshaw said.

The Mountain Hawks will take on Sacred Heart University, the University of Rhode Island, and Canisius College in the Art Carmichael Invite at Rhode Island on Sept. 11.

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