The Lehigh women’s volleyball team began its season with a 3-0 record, its best record since 2018 and the first time the team has had three consecutive sweeps at the start of a season. After the Steel City Classic this past weekend, the Mountain Hawks are now 8-2.
Coach Alexa Keckler attributes much of the team’s success to the conscious effort in the off-season to create strong bonds between the players.
“In the spring, (we took) the time to really develop strong relationships within our team so that we could hold each other accountable and push each other on the court,” Keckler said. “And I think our upperclassmen, and especially our captains, really made sure that was a foundation of how we started our preseason.”
To start off the season, the team spent the weekend in Florida at the FAU Invitational from Aug. 26 to Aug. 29.
Junior Sophia Meagher said the weekend brought the team together and set the tone for the rest of the season.
“After we won everything we went to Shake Shack and got a really good meal and then after we went to the beach,” Meagher said. “It was just a perfect day and was really fun to just continue to keep making memories with these great girls.”
During the spring preseason, the team was made up of only sophomores and freshmen. Junior Lylah Washington said this led to low expectations.
Because there are no seniors on the team this year, Washington said the team has to show they will be competitive against teams with members who may have more collegiate experience.
“We’re young so not a lot of people expect a lot from us,” Washington said. “We want to prove everyone wrong and show them how good we really are because we are all just really talented.”
Keckler said the team did an intentional job during the off-season of focusing on how they interact with each other in a positive manner in order to learn and build off of each other.
“Our freshmen were infiltrated so easily in our offense, in our culture, in our work ethic and in our energy,” Keckler said. “That made it a lot easier then to go out and compete against other teams because we were all on the same page.”
A large group of the team has been utilizing the resources within the Lehigh Athletic Department, specifically within Flight 45, to develop their leadership skills.
According to the Flight 45 website, the program works with athletes to “guide and promote a strengths-based and critically conscious approach to leadership development.”
The team has been working with Julie Ammary, Flight 45 Athletics Leadership Development Director, and Caitlin Gillard, the Student Athlete Development Assistant, consistently since January.
Keckler said Ammary and Gillard have helped the team to think about how they’re interacting, how they’re communicating, what their body language looks like, when they’re not pulling their weight and how that impacts the others on the court.