Pioneers Sweep Mountain Hawks, 3-0; Freshman Mercado Posts Double-Double
Lehigh took a pair of early set leads but SHU came back each time and picked up a 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-18) victory in the last game Friday night at the 2010 Sacred Heart Invitational. Dianis Mercado (Vega Baja, Puerto Rico) notched a double-double in her first collegiate start with 13 kills and 11 digs. Ashlyn Trimble (Temecula, CA) hammered home 10 kills and added eight assists of her own. Courtney Kidd-Kadlubek (Santa Barbara, CA), who missed the final game of the Baden State Classic last week, returned to the lineup and recorded 33 assists for the Pioneers.
Lehigh (3-2) took the control early in the first set and had four leads of four points, the last coming at 9-5. The Pioneers rallied to tie the game at 15-15 on a kill from Maile Hetherington (Thousand Oaks, CA) and a combination block off the hands of Mercado and Elise Sage (Greenwood Village, CO). SHU pulled away with seven straight points on Sage's serve, starting at 17-17, including two aces. Mercado capped off the first game with a kill set up by Kidd-Kadlubek as the Pioneers went up 1-0 with the 25-18 first set triumph.
Sacred Heart (1-3) jumped out to a quick lead in the second game, controlling the action with 5-1 and 12-4 advantages. But the Mountain Hawks came roaring back running off eight straight points, all on the serve of Courtney McCutchan to jump ahead 17-16. Kidd-Kadlubek ended the run with a clever kill on SHU's second touch. The senior captain then stepped back to serve and the Pioneers answered the run with seven in a row of their own to make it 23-17. Sacred Heart would cruise in for the 25-19 set win with the last kill coming on a Sage swing from the right side.
The Mountain Hawks started the third set hot and coasted out to a 5-2 lead as Angelika Kopacz dropped in one of her five kills of the night. The deciding points would again come from the serve of Kidd-Kadlubek as SHU used six in a row to build a 20-15 advantage. A Trimble kill made it 24-18 Sacred Heart and the Pioneers clinched its first win of 2010 on the next point on a Kopacz attacking error. Lehigh struggled throughout the final game hitting at -.032. The Pioneers finished the night hitting at .190 overall to the Mountain Hawks .029
The Pioneers are back in action at 9:00 am tomorrow morning as they take on Jacksonville. Sacred Heart closes the 2010 edition of its home tournament at 3:00 pm against Binghamton.