Volleyball completes perfect weekend with sweep against Lehigh
Four Eagles notch 9 kills in 3-0 victory
The Eagles were coming off a 3-0 victory against Lafayette in Bender Arena the previous night and looked to continue their near-perfect home record against Lehigh, who were coming off a 3-1 loss against Loyola Maryland on Sept. 29.
American got off to a hot start in the first set with three straight kills from graduate student outside hitter Zeynep Uzen. An 11-5 run to start off the match also featured three kills from graduate student middle blocker Carlie Fikse, and a kill from freshman outside hitter Holly Hopkins, paired with another from freshman opposite hitter Carly Sciborski. The Mountain Hawks fought back throughout the whole set, tying the game at 12-12. The Eagles never held a lead of more than 5 points for the rest of the set, and Hopkins sealed the set’s score at 25-23 with a kill.
The Eagles stormed to a 12-7 start in the second set, with five more kills from Fikse and two more from Hopkins accounting for 7 of those points. Once again, Lehigh scored many points virtually unanswered to tie the set at 19-19 and 22-22 before AU pulled away. An ace from Uzen and a ball handling error from Lehigh led to another set victory for the Eagles, who survived the Mountain Hawks’ late resurgence with a set score of 25-22.
Lehigh took their first lead of the entire match at the start of the third set, when a service error put them up 1-0. They also put up 2-1 and 3-2 leads before American found their rhythm. The Eagles took a 4-3 lead en route to an 18-8 lead at one point in the set. Down 10 points, the Mountain Hawks found a second wind and put up a 10-0 run to tie the game back up. This came from excellent ball placement and defense on Lehigh’s part, and forced both of American’s timeouts. After head coach Ahen Kim called the Eagles’ second timeout, American took the lead once more and held it for the rest of the set, winning the set and match with a block from Fikse and junior setter Esma Sipahi. The final set score was 25-23.
Four Eagles posted nine or more kills on the day: Fikse with 11, Sciborski and Hopkins with ten and Uzen with nine.
Sipahi commented after the game about her ability to spread the ball around to many hitters, saying “I’m proud of them! They knew what to do when a play blew up, and when we got a good set in, they placed their hits very well to score us points.”
“We’re always more comfortable at home, so it’s always great to win in front of this crowd,” Sipahi said, referencing the two weekend sweeps.
When asked about the Eagles’ upcoming Patriot League schedule, Sipahi said “What we’re trying to do is establish the rhythm that we have at home on the road. If we’re able to do that, a lot more wins will come.”
The Eagles travel to face the Bucknell Bison on Oct. 6. Their next home match is against the Colgate Raiders on Oct. 15.
This article was edited by Penelope Jennings, Delaney Hoke and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis and Olivia Citarella.