While many students at Lehigh prepared to return home for spring break after their Friday classes on March 8, student-athletes competing in the spring season stayed on campus or traveled across the country to take on different competition within the Division I landscape.
Spring break offered a window for athletic programs at Lehigh to face opposing teams in other regions of the country that they wouldn’t typically see during the regular season. It also presented one of the first opportunities to play in warmer weather. The gloomy, rainy and oftentimes frigid nature associated with springs in the Northeast can keep teams indoors for workouts and cause games to take place in bitter conditions.
Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams traveled to Charleston, South Carolina, where the men’s team followed a 5-2 win against the Citadel with back-to-back losses against College of Charleston (5-1) and Radford (4-3).
After the women’s team lost the doubles point, it stormed back with straight set wins at the bottom three singles flights against College of Charleston. However, despite a 3-2 Lehigh lead, College of Charleston ultimately rallied to take the top two flights, winning 4-3. The women’s team suffered a 4-1 loss against Coastal Carolina the following day.
Despite the disappointing outcome of match play against College of Charleston, the women’s tennis team has maintained its focus on the positives. Sophomore Catherine Meighan said she was impressed by her team’s overall performance and that the final score was largely dependent on factors that were out of its control.
“I think the only thing that really got us were the conditions,” Meighan said. “It was our first time playing outside in months, so I think they kind of had the upper hand with the weather, the wind and the outdoor circumstances. But I think our tennis games were totally competitive and compatible, I don’t think they outplayed us in anyway.”
The women’s lacrosse team traveled to San Diego, California, to face San Diego State and UC Davis. The Mountain Hawks lost control of a 6-5 lead early in the second half with San Diego State ending the game on an 8-0 run, securing a 13-6 victory.
Despite a tough start to spring break play, the women’s team found its momentum in the second game of the road trip, scoring five of the game’s first six goals and finishing with a 14-5 win over UC Davis.
Sophomore midfielder Hannah Cermack said the team pinpointed its transition game as a major contributor in its loss against San Diego State. She said the team’s experience over spring break fired everyone up for Patriot League play.
“Spring break was really awesome, but I think we’re all really excited for the Patriot League play of our season because it’s so much more competitive and it means so much more to us,” Cermack said. “Going into those games, we just want to give it our all and in the end, everything we do is just preparation for tournament play.”
Spring break didn’t go as expected for Lehigh softball as the Mountain Hawks lost all of their tournament games in Arizona, contributing to a 12-game losing streak. The team refused to enable its adversity to discourage them from moving forward.
Junior infielder Mary-Hannah Smith led the Mountain Hawks over their 12-game trip, batting a .394 (13-for-33) and securing her 100th career hit. For Smith, the team’s success is her only priority.
“To be honest with you, I had no idea I was even close to my 100th hit, so I was definitely surprised and thankful,” Smith said. “But for me, I guess it’s more about how the team does moving forward so I’m thankful but I just hope that as a team we come out and we play well and we turn our season around together.”
Balmy Palm City, Florida, offered Lehigh men’s golf one of its first opportunities to swing the clubs outdoors this year. Although the men placed last (shooting 313) in the UNCG Martin Downs Collegiate 13-team event, the team flew home with a positive mentality.
“Obviously we weren’t quite as ready as the Southern schools who have been practicing throughout the winter, so we were just happy to be able to get some of the rust off,” senior Lee Hammerschmidt said. “So although we didn’t play as well as we wanted, there are definitely a lot of positives to take from the tournament.”
Regardless of outcomes, spring break proved to be an important opportunity for each Lehigh athletic program to gain invaluable experience, recognize problem areas and develop strategies for carrying out successful seasons.