Lehigh hosts trio of opponents in inaugural Steel Tournament

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BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania – The Lehigh volleyball team is attempting its first win of the 2021 season and is hosting the first Lehigh Steel Tournament to be held on Friday and Saturday afternoons at the Leeman-Turner Arena in Grace St. Francis Brooklyn, Dartmouth and Binghamton guests are hall.

The Mountain Hawks host St. Francis Brooklyn at noon on Friday, Dartmouth at 7 p.m. and Binghamton at 4 p.m. on Saturday to round off the weekend.

Lehigh has a trio of losses behind him in Blacksburg and falls on Virginia Tech, Elon and Toledo to open the season. The Mountain Hawks are 0-3 to start the campaign for the third year in a row.

Fifth year Hannah Wright was the most formidable part of Lehigh’s offense, going off the weekend with two 10 or more kill appearances, including 14 against Toledo in the weekend finals. She averages 3.09 kills per set and hits 0.202. Fifth year colleague Sabrina Lancaster is second on the team with 26 kills at 2.60 per set. Freshman Megan Schulte looked impressive in her first two games of the weekend, recording the season’s top 15 kills with five digs and two blocks in a five-set thriller against Virginia Tech on Friday.

Defensively, the two newcomers Makena Smith and Emily Stewart lead the lead with 10 blocks each, with Sophia Meagher taking second place with nine blocks in her second year. Smith also leads the team with 87 assists in their first three career games. Freshman libero Kyleigh Brown averaged 3.54 digs per set for a total of 46.

As a team, Lehigh hits 0.142 and an average of 10.5 kills per set. They keep opponents at an attack percentage of .267.

St. Francis Brooklyn comes into the weekend dropping three of its first four games to open in 2021. The Terriers fell 3-1 to Hofstra on Tuesday night and have also lost to the enemy of the Delaware State and Patriot League, Bucknell. The only win of the season so far came with a four-set win over St. Peter. Carla Hernandez has had 30 kills so far to speed up the team, while Camelia Melendez averages 4.40 kills per set. Angelee Ng is leading with 86 assists, Cristal Paulino has 22 blocks to lead the team, while Alasha Colon averages 4.31 throws per set for a total of 69.

Friday’s matchup will be the first ever between Lehigh and St. Francis Brooklyn.

Dartmouth is playing volleyball for the first time since 2019 after the 2020/21 school year was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign begins on Friday afternoon against Binghamton before going up against the Mountain Hawks at night.

The Big Green finished the 2019 season on a 10-15 record, winning three consecutive games against Merrimack, Columbia and Cornell at the end of the year. Dartmouth was 4-8 in the Ivy League game and also took a non-league win over Holy Cross on September 21, 2019 earlier in the season.

Dartmouth is returning nine players to a squad with four seniors and five juniors as of 2019. Six sophomores and four freshmen will make their college debut against the Bearcats on Friday afternoon.
Lehigh is always 0-1 against Dartmouth. The Big Green won a 3-1 victory over the Mountain Hawks at the Sacred Heart on September 4, 2010.

Finally, Binghamton comes into the weekend with a record of 1-2 after beating the Morgan State host school last Saturday to Towson and Navy. Stefana Stan and Annie Bart top the team leadership with 18 goals over the weekend, while Anna Sprys has 11. Kiara Adams has the team’s top 40 assists, while Emily Rail leads the team with 34 digs. The Bearcats beat .010 as a team after three games while their opponents beat .220 against them.

Like St. Francis Brooklyn, this will be the first ever duel between Lehigh and Binghamton.

Lehigh’s games between the Terriers and Big Green will be streamed live on ESPN + (subscription required). Live statistics are provided for all games (including collisions on neutral sites).

As recommended by CDC and Lehigh University guidelines, spectators must wear face masks indoors on campus.

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