Josh Steinbach Records 100th Career Victory as Volleyball Cruises Past Lehigh
Sept. 10, 2013
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Villanova head coach Josh Steinbach recorded his historic 100th career win tonight as the Villanova volleyball team cruised its way to victory Tuesday night, after defeating Lehigh, 3-1 (26-24, 20-25, 25-17, 25-17), at the Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall.
"We needed a win. We lost three in a row so putting a win on the board feels good," Steinbach said. "I think we got a little better and some different kids stepped up and played well."
The difference in the match came down to attack efficiency, Villanova (2-4) hit .168 to Lehigh's (5-2) .075 over four sets.
The first set included a back and forth tradeoff between the two schools, which included nine tie scores and eclipsed the usual 25 point finish. Tied at 21, Claire Crutchfield had an intense spike to take the lead, 22-21, but Lehigh scored three of the next four points and was up 24-23. Two attack errors by the Mountain Hawks and a clutch block assist by freshmen duo, Michaela Berendt and Claire Crutchfield gave the Wildcats a 26-24 win in set one.
Villanova looked out of sync late in set two, never really catching a rhythm. Up 11-10 in the second stanza, Lehigh scored six of the next seven points to take a 17-11 lead and eventually would claim its lone set, 25-20.
In set three, the Mountain Hawks jumped out to an early 6-3 lead but the Wildcats countered with four points of their own to take the lead. The two squads would once again trade serves before Villanova scored five consecutive points to extend the lead to 19-14. A Mariah Henley service ace and vicious spike by Berendt would give the Wildcats a 25-17 victory in stanza three.
"I think it was a good for us to buckle down and take control," Steinbach added. "We needed a confidence booster and close out a tight game in the end."
After carrying its momentum over from the third set, Villanova came out firing on all cylinders in set four. The Wildcats jumped out to a 5-0 lead before putting the Mountain Hawks away, 25-17, and claim its second victory of the year.
All four freshmen saw action tonight, which was highlighted once again by Berendt's superb play. The Olympia, Wash. native led the match in kills (15), attack pct. (.449) and blocks (8).
"Michaela Berendt has been consistent and played well again," Steinbach said. "She is an efficient kid, so it's a matter if we can get the ball in there and have her do some different things. We feel pretty good for where she is right now as a freshman."
Henley and Emma Pettit led the defensive charge once again. Henley led both teams with 24 digs and Pettit had 19 digs and 40 assists.
The Wildcats return to the court this weekend when it travels to College Park for the Maryland Invitational. Villanova will battle with George Mason Friday at 5 p.m. and New Hampshire (11:00 a.m.) and Maryland (7:30 p.m.) on Saturday.