BY JEFF FALK
PHOTOS BY JEFF PITTENGER
ANNVILLE – When you’re focused on the moment, you can lose track of time. But the Lebanon Valley College women’s basketball team seems to know exactly how late it is.
On Saturday afternoon at Lou Sorrentino Gymnasium, the Flying Dutchmen began their push towards a postseason berth with a 67-56 home triumph over Alvernia. Not only did Lebanon Valley do a good job of getting to the rim, but it also did an admirable job of finishing.
The result was critical for a Flying Dutchmen squad fighting for a playoff spot. With seven regular-season games remaining, Lebanon Valley stands at 8-10 overall, 5-4 in the Commonwealth Conference and on the cusp of extending its season.
The Flying Dutchmen had dropped four of their last five contests coming in.
Alvernia plummeted to 1-17 on the season and 1-8 in the conference. Back on December 3rd, LVC had scored a 56-50 decision at Alvernia.
The contest served as the opener of a women’s/men’s doubleheader.
“We expect ourselves to be in the playoffs,” said Lebanon Valley head coach Amy Sokaitis. “We’re in the hunt. There’s no question we feel like we should be there. But everyone’s goal is to make it to the playoffs.
“I want to go to the playoffs because I want to go to the playoffs,” Sokaitis added. “But we’ve grown and developed. I’m proud of where we are. But the playoffs are not going to make or break our season.”
After Lebanon Valley led by as many as 18 points in the third quarter, Alvernia used a 17-2 burst to close to within three points, early in the fourth quarter. But the Flying Dutchmen righted themselves with jumpers from Taylor Troutman, Hilary Yoh and Lexie Lantz, and a lay-in by Jasmine Copeland, to re-extend its advantage to 63-52.
“The biggest thing for us was staying composed and taking care of the ball,” said Sokaitis. “It was just cleaning things up and doing a better job.
“There are some games we dropped that we would’ve liked to have not dropped,” continued Sokaitis. “Our non-league schedule was one of the toughest in the country. We’ve got to continue to improve everyday.”
The Flying Dutchmen enjoyed a 38-26 halftime cushion, then opened the third quarter on a 13-7 run. With nine points, Lantz was nearly unstoppable during the burst, while teammates Becky Evans and Anne Lehr contributed buckets to the LVC cause.
“I’m happy with the win,” said Sokaitis. “We needed a win. I’d like to see us execute better, and defensively, we’d like to be a little more solid.
“The message after the game was just about doing the little things,” Sokaitis continued. “It was a good win. We have to do the little things better going forward.”
With 19 points and ten boards, Lantz spearheaded the Flying Dutchmen’s balanced attack. Yoh collected 13 points and Evans netted ten, as did Lehr.
Lebanon Valley held Alvernia to 32 percent shooting from the field and forced 23 Crusader turnovers.
“Why was this game such a big deal?,” said Sokaitis. “Because we played so well on Wednesday (in an overtime loss at Messiah) and came up short. To play so well and lose, you want to bounce back. I didn’t want to lose that momentum.”
Lebanon Valley led 14-9, six minutes in, thanks to a jump shot by Morgan Bamberger.
Early in the second stanza, the Flying Dutchmen ripped off 11 straight points to forge a 29-18 advantage. The run began with an Evans lay-in, featured five points from Yoh and concluded with back-to-back lay-ups by Lehr.
“We just pushed the ball and moved it quicker,” said Sokaitis. “We got down the floor faster. We really controlled the boards in the first half, which is a big deal for us.
“Yeah, we can make the playoffs,” added Sokaitis. “We’re 5-4 in the conference and tied for fourth place. It depends on what happens with the rest of the league. We have to continue to play well. We have to win a couple of games down the stretch, but we don’t have to win out.”
To purchase images in this article email email@example.com, or to view more go to https://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/photo-gallery/.
2016-17 Lebanon Valley College Women’s Basketball Schedule
|11/15/2016||Elizabethtown College||Elizabethtown, Pa.||L 51-63
|Rinso Marquette Tournament|
|11/18/2016||Penn State Altoona||Annville, Pa.||W 81-44
|11/19/2016||SUNY Geneseo||Annville, Pa.||L 40-52
|11/26/2016||Misericordia University||Annville, Pa.||W 74-63
|11/27/2016||York College of Pennsylvania||York, Pa.||L 53-63
|11/30/2016||*||Widener University||Annville, Pa.||W 79-62
|12/3/2016||*||Alvernia University||Reading, Pa.||W 56-50
|12/7/2016||*||Stevenson University||Annville, Pa.||L 49-55
|12/10/2016||*||Hood College||Frederick, Md.||W 75-53
|12/19/2016||Marywood University||Scranton, Pa.||L 46-54
|12/20/2016||No. 3 University of Scranton||Annville, Pa.||L 52-63
|12/30/2016||Delaware Valley University||Bethlehem, Pa.||W 62-57
|12/31/2016||Moravian College||Bethlehem, Pa.||L 78-88
|1/4/2017||*||Lycoming College||Williamsport, Pa.||L 56-72
|1/7/2017||*||Albright College||Annville, Pa.||L 57-74
|1/11/2017||*||Arcadia University||Glenside, Pa.||W 74-68
|1/18/2017||*||No. 25 Messiah College||Annville, Pa.||L 79-85 (OT)
|1/21/2017||Alumni Game||Annville, Pa.||11 a.m.|
|1/21/2017||*||Alvernia University||Annville, Pa.||2 p.m.|
|1/25/2017||*||Stevenson University||Owings Mills, Md.||6 p.m.|
|1/28/2017||*||Hood College||Annville, Pa.||4 p.m.|
|2/1/2017||*||Widener University||Chester, Pa.||6 p.m.|
|2/4/2017||*||Albright College||Reading, Pa.||2 p.m.|
|The Pink Game|
|2/8/2017||*||Arcadia University||Annville, Pa.||6 p.m.|
|2/11/2017||*||Messiah College||Grantham, Pa.||3 p.m.|
|2/14/2017||*||Lycoming College||Annville, Pa.||6 p.m.|