The Mountain Hawks lost to American University 3-2 on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, in Grace Hall. Lehigh won the first two sets of the game but ultimately fell after losing three straight sets. (Kate Morrell/B&W Staff)

Volleyball loses 3-2 heartbreaker to American

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Lehigh volleyball was defeated by American University 3-2 on Oct. 9 in front of a loud crowd in Grace Hall.

The match between two of the top teams in the Patriot League went to five sets, with American coming from down 2-0 to win three straight sets.

“We were stagnant,” said head coach Alexa Keckler. “They made an adjustment and we kept doing the same things.”

From the first whistle, it was obvious that the battle between the Mountain Hawks (16-3, 5-2 Patriot) and the Eagles (12-9, 7-0 Patriot) was going to be a tough one. In what was a back and forth first set, the teams traded points until the score was 20-19 Lehigh. From there, the Mountain Hawks were able to break away from the Eagles, bringing their lead to 23-19 before winning the set 25-20.

Lehigh gained a lot of momentum from freshman setter Alina Lam, who had two powerful serves at the end of the set, setting up the Mountain Hawks to earn the set-winning point.

Junior outside hitter Julia Pressly had four kills in the first set, including one that caused the crowd to erupt and brought the score to 9-8 Lehigh.

After winning the first two sets by scores of 25-20 and 25-19, the Mountain Hawks dropped the third and fourth sets 25-22 and 25-21 respectively.

“Ultimately coming out and winning the first two (sets), I think we were prepared initially for a battle,” Keckler said. “We sort of got complacent and surprised that we were in that situation.”

In the fifth set, American had nine kills to Lehigh’s six, and ultimately defeated the Mountain Hawks 15-10.

“We definitely lost our energy,” Pressly said. “We got relaxed. We thought the first two sets were easier than we expected so we kind of took a step back and they started pushing back, and we just didn’t push back harder.”

In their next game versus American, Keckler said the Mountain Hawks are going to have to grind through their next battle with American, who will have home court advantage on the Nov. 6 meeting.

American, who won the Patriot League Championship last season, beat the Mountain Hawks three times in 2017 by a combined score of nine sets to one.  

The Mountain Hawks will play at Colgate on Friday, Oct. 12. The Raiders, who are 8-10 on the season, lost to American on the road 3-1 on Oct. 6.

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