The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Volleyball beats Lehigh, loses to Bucknell at home

First-year Ally Feczko attempts a spike against two defenders during the Leopards’ victory over the Mountain Hawks. (Photo by Rick Smith for GoLeopards)

The women’s volleyball team (6-6 overall, 2-2 Patriot League), played in two matchups over the weekend on its home court. The Leopards dropped the first to the Bucknell Bison (6-7 overall, 2-2 Patriot League) but didn’t let that loss slow them down, going on to beat Lehigh (9-6 overall, 1-3 Patriot League).

“The season has been really fun so far,” senior middle blocker Gracie Gibson said. “We have so many great players … and I’m excited to see how much better we get.”

The Leopards were defeated 3-1 in their first match against Bucknell on Saturday, but made some big plays over the course of four sets.

The Bison took the first set 25-17 and despite the Leopards coming out strong in the second, the Maroon and White ultimately fell 25-23. Outside hitters junior Nina Kernan and sophomore Hannah Ehrich-Pollock each tallied a kill during the competitive play, but a series of Lafayette attack errors cost the team the set.

Down 2-0, the Leopards came back in the third set. With a narrow 20-19 lead, Ehrich-Pollock and Kernan each took kills, extending the Leopards’ lead to three. Junior setter Anna Penman set up an assist for sophomore outside hitter Carol Ulichney, who ended the set with a kill for a Lafayette win.

“[Ulichney is] an athlete who brings an immense amount of energy when she’s on the court,” Ehrich-Pollock said.

The team was not able to maintain its momentum heading into the fourth set as Bucknell claimed a win and secured a 3-1 victory.

“I thought we stayed calm and positive throughout the match, even when things weren’t going our way,” Gibson said. 

The Leopards would not let their loss put a damper on the weekend as they faced off against rival Lehigh on Sunday. The team secured its sixth win of the season against the Mountain Hawks, taking the match by a margin of 3-1. 

“The rivalry is very real in that it pushes us to compete at a really high level,” Ehrich-Pollock explained.

The match marked a standout performance on the offense for first-year outside hitter Ally Feczko, who tallied 14 kills over the course of the afternoon. Feczko also made 14 digs and one block assist, earning her first career double-double with the team.

The Leopards started in the first set with a kill from first-year outside hitter Emma Patmon and a service ace from senior setter Alyssa Vitale putting the team up 2-0. As the set continued, the Maroon and White extended their lead from 15-11 to 19-11 after Gibson and Kernan both made kills and Patmon made an ace. A kill from Ulichney assisted by Penman finished off the set in favor of the Leopards. 

The second set was full of action and kept spectators on their toes with four ties and two lead changes. Lehigh made a 3-0 run with the game tied 11-11. A pair of attack errors by the Leopards and some strong plays from Lehigh gave the Mountain Hawks the win for the second set.

The match continued into a high scoring third set, with 58 total points and multiple extended rallies keeping the energy high. The Maroon and White took a 3-0 lead after kills from Patmon and Kernan as well as an error from Lehigh. As the set continued, Lehigh was on its set point when a kill from Ulichney tied the teams at 26. First-year Irelynd Lorenzen turned the game in favor of the Leopards with a kill. This was matched by the Mountain Hawks, but Lafayette rallied with another kill from Lorenzen and two from Patmon to earn a tight third set victory.

The Maroon and White started the fourth set down as Lehigh jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but the team made a strong comeback bringing the game to a 9-9 tie after a kill from Ulichney, who tallied eight total kills over the match. A kill from Penman won the set for Lafayette, securing a hard-fought victory over its rival.

The Leopards will be back in action at 7 p.m. tonight in Washington, D.C. where they will continue conference play against American.

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Fiona Cannon, Staff Sports Writer

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