The volleyball team practices at Leeman-Turner Arena on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2015. The team, which currently has a 13-10 record, will face Lafayette College on Oct. 21. (Courtney Ferszt/B&W Photo)

Lehigh volleyball approaches key part of in-league play


The Lehigh volleyball team established the motto “all 18 in” at the start of its season to emphasize the importance of a full-team effort to ensure success. Halfway through its season, Lehigh (13-10, 5-3 Patriot) is just a few games above .500.

“So far we have been sticking together as a team well but could improve on our mental toughness and ability to finish a tight game,”  sophomore outside hitter Whitney Krantz said.

For the team to achieve its goal of winning a title, the Mountain Hawks must place at least fourth in the league to qualify for the Patriot League tournament. Coming off a split weekend with a loss against Army West Point and a win over College of the Holy Cross, it is important for the Mountain Hawks to continue to win for a tournament spot.

“In order for us to secure a spot in the tournament we are going to have to continue to improve each time we step on the court,” senior opposite hitter Stephanie Slater said. “It is going to be important for us to minimize our errors and find a way to score and not just wait for the other team to lose the point.”

The Mountain Hawks had a successful season last year and are looking to continue the positive momentum for the rest of its season this year. With the second half of its season consisting of mostly Patriot League games it is important for the Mountain Hawks to stay focused.

“So far this season, I think we have been playing a fairly consistent game defensively, both digging and blocking,” Slater said. “If we are going to continue to have a positive league record we are going to need to improve our offensive.”

The Mountain Hawks are barely leading in offensive statistics against their opponents, while the defense takes a big step ahead of opponents with a total of 172 blocks and 1,177 digs on the season so far.

Slater said that improving the team’s offense, as well as being mentally tough in the last five points of the match, are the team’s focuses going forward this season. She said the team has to start learning from its losses and focusing on its strengths.

Freshman defensive specialist/libero Emily Develle has stepped up to play a major role on the team this season.

“I was initially a little nervous for transition from high school and club ball to a Division I athletic program, but as soon as I got to Lehigh for preseason, I quickly realized that with the support of my teammates it would be manageable,” Develle said. “The upperclassmen were very welcoming and helpful to myself and the other freshmen, making the transition very smooth for us physically and emotionally.”

Each year new players take the place of graduating seniors and the team must come together once more as a cohesive unit under the time constraint of pre-season training and non-league games. This year the team has done worked together to improve individually and as a team.

“The team has improved drastically since the beginning of the season, but we will need to continue this trend in order to guarantee ourselves a spot in the tournament (and) for a chance to win (it),” Develle said. “I think if we continue working hard in practice and focus on our team goals, the team will continue its progression as we enter the second half of Patriot League play.”

As the second half of the season approaches, the Mountain Hawks are determined to continue to improve. The Mountain Hawks’ next match is against Lafayette in Easton on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

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