Senior defensive specialist Stephanie Stieber prepares to send a pass to senior middle blocker Kelly Bennett at Grace Hall Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, against No. 1 American University. The Mountain Hawks lost to American, 3-1. (Catherine Manthorp/B&W Staff)

American spoils Lehigh volleyball Senior Night with 3-1 victory


On Senior Night, the Lehigh volleyball team failed to pick up an upset victory over American University, leaving seniors Bonaire Berry, Stephanie Stieber, Kelly Bennett and Hannah Chalk empty-handed Saturday evening at Leeman-Turner Arena. 

Coming into the night, Lehigh (17-11, 8-6 Patriot) had the task of dethroning American (22-7, 13-1 Patriot) from its 13-game winning streak but all hopes were dashed as American pulled out a 3-1 victory, adding onto the now 34-6 all-time record against Lehigh.

“It was pretty upsetting coming away with a loss but I think that we all played our hearts out and we gave everything that we had,” senior Bonaire Berry said “We always say that we win together and we lose together, and tonight you know we lost but we lost together as a team.”

While Lehigh was able to show signs of life throughout the game, the Mountain Hawks were simply outmatched by an American team that was able to go on multiple scoring streaks and put together an effort that outpaced Lehigh.

“They played a lot harder, “ junior Victoria Hemsath said. “I think they let up a little in the second set and we came back harder so we know they’re not going to let up and they came back even harder.

Although it was Senior Night, it was two sophomores that stood out for the Mountain Hawks. Ana Spangenberg tallied 14 kills while Julia Pressly led the way with 18 kills, combining for 32 of Lehigh’s 56 kills on the night.  Junior setter Megan Polak stayed in a complimentary role, notching 34 assists.

“For me, being able to just see the court, I was getting really amazing passes that allowed me to just do what i wanted with the ball and give my hitters those opportunities and they were putting it away,” Polak said. “So all credit to the passing and the hitters.” 

The Mountain Hawks looked like they had the ability to keep up with American, responding to a mistake-riddled first set with a second set where they dominated American, scoring ten unanswered points and eventually coming out on top with 25-16 victory. 

Lehigh refused to relent after being swept 3-0 by American earlier this season in Washington D.C.

“They were pretty fired up and ready to play.” coach Bob Bertucci said.

The victory celebration was cut short however, as American rallied in the third set to beat Lehigh 25-19,  regaining the play style that has put the Eagles atop the Patriot League standings and made them four-time defending Patriot League champions. Lehigh fought in the fourth set, keeping it close but American’s firepower proved to be too much as the Eagles took the fourth set 25-20.

The senior class will have one final game at Leeman-Turner Arena as the Mountain Hawks will close out the home portion of their schedule against Navy on Sunday.

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Junior setter Megan Polak, sophomore middle blocker Emily Poole and junior outside hitter Victoria Hemsath prepare to keep the ball out of Lehigh territory during a match against American University at Grace Hall Saturday, Nov. 14, 2017. Lehigh lost to American, 3-1. (Catherine Manthorp/B&W Staff)



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