2011-12 Patriot League Season in Review: Men's Sports

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Chris Lum led Lehigh to the Patriot League football title and finished second in the voting for the Walter Payton Award.
Chris Lum led Lehigh to the Patriot League football title and finished second in the voting for the Walter Payton Award.

June 27, 2012

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - It would be hard to argue against the 2011-12 season as the most accomplished in the history of men's sports in the Patriot League.

Looking for national attention with a big win? How about Lehigh shocking Duke 75-70 in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament on March 16, a victory that is in the running for the Best Upset award at the 2012 ESPYs.

Want more postseason success? Lehigh delivered in football as well, with the Mountain Hawks defeating Colonial Athletic Association champion Towson 40-38 on the road on Dec. 3 in the second round of the NCAA Division I Football Championship on their way to finishing No. 5 in the country. In men's lacrosse, Colgate and Lehigh finished in the top 10 of the national polls and the Raiders advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament by defeating previously unbeaten Massachusetts 13-11 on May 12. Bucknell added another postseason win in men's basketball, going on the road to beat Arizona of the Pac-12 by a 65-54 final in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) on March 14

How about individual accolades? Colgate's Peter Baum earned the highest honor in men's lacrosse, as he became the first Patriot Leaguer to earn the Tewaaraton Trophy as the collegiate player of the year while earning the same recognition from the USILA as the Lt. Enners Award winner. Lehigh's Chris Lum finished second in the voting for the Walter Payton Award as the most oustanding player in the Football Championship Subdivision. Lum won the ECAC Offensive Player of the Year award, while Georgetown's Andrew Schaetzke claimed the organizaton's Defensive Player of the Year honor. Lehigh's C.J. McCollum was named ECAC Men's Basketball Player of the Year in addition to other national and regional honors, while Chris Rowley, Kevin McKague and Zach Price all represented the Army baseball team as candidates for national awards and as All-Americans.

The success continued in the classroom, with seven Capital One Academic All-Americans in men's sports including first-team selections for Price (baseball), Bucknell's Tim Bolte (football) and Army's Brendan Buckley (lacrosse).

Lehigh became the first program to win titles in football, men's basketball and men's lacrosse in the same season, while also holding off Navy to win the Patriot League Men's Presidents Cup by less than one point. The Mids won titles in men's cross country, men's swimming and diving, men's golf and men's tennis, while remaining crowns went to Bucknell (men's indoor and outdoor track and field), Colgate (men's soccer) and Army (baseball).

A synopsis for the 2011-12 season in each men's sport is included below. A photo gallery for the champions can be found here while a list of accomplishments for student-athletes and teams from the past year is available here

Men's Basketball
In a year of success for a number of Patriot League sports, the headlines were never greater than on March 16. After winning a hard-fought Patriot League Championship game by an 82-77 finale at Bucknell on March 7, Lehigh busted brackets with a 75-70 victory over Duke for one of the greatest upsets in the history of the NCAA Tournament. The Mountain Hawks became just the sixth No. 15 seed to beat a No. 2. The Bison rebounded from their championship game defeat by winning 65-54 at Arizona in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) on March 14. Both the Bison and Mountain Hawks fell in their next contest on March 18, but they gained national acclaim for the Patriot League with significant wins. The stars of both teams also continued to garner national attention, with Lehigh's C.J. McCollum and Bucknell's Mike Muscala earning numerous honors. McCollum beat out Muscala for the Patriot League Player of the Year award, and went on to earn ECAC Player of the Year and AP Honorable Mention All-America honors. Muscala claimed second-team All-ECAC honors, while both players received first-team NABC All-District recognition as they completed outstanding junior seasons. The 2012 campaign also featured three Patriot League teams in the postseason for the first time, as American made it to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

Lehigh won its second consecutive Patriot League title, and took it a step further by advancing to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I Football Championship behind a record-setting quarterback. The Mountain Hawks went 10-1 in the regular season and completed their second consecutive perfect Patriot League campaign before going on the road and knocking off Colonial Athletic Association champion Towson 40-38 in the second round of the playoffs on Dec. 3. The Mountain Hawks fell on the road at eventual national champion North Dakota State the following weekend, but finished the season in style by winning the ECAC Lambert Cup as the top FCS team in the east and placing fifth in both major national rankings. Senior quarterback Chris Lum led the way, setting single-season Patriot League records for passing yards (4,378), completions (358) and total offense (4,499) while placing second in the Walter Payton Award voting and winning the ECAC Offensive Player of the Year award. Georgetown defensive lineman Andrew Schaetzke concluded his career by winning the ECAC Defensive Player of the Year honor, placing fourth for the Buck Buchanan Award and becoming just the ninth consensus All-American in Patriot League history. Lum and Schaetzke were two of eight Patriot Leaguers to earn All-America honors, with Lehigh's Ryan Spadola and Bucknell's Bryce Robertson joining Schaetzke as first-team selections. Spadola set a Patriot League record with 1,616 receiving yards, while Robertson's 13 interceptions shattered the previous mark of nine and were just one off the FCS record. There were academic honors as well, with Bucknell's Tim Bolte earning first-team Capital One Academic All-America recognition. The news continued into the offseason, with Fordham naming Joe Moorhead as its head football coach and four players signing NFL free agent contracts. Perhaps the most long-lasting effect from the season did not come until February when it was announced that athletic merit aid would be permitted in football beginning with the 2013 season.

Men's Lacrosse
A Tewaaraton award winner. Two teams in the postseason, including one in the quarterfinals. Those same squads finishing as top 10 teams nationally. It was a year to remember for Patriot League men's lacrosse, with Colgate and Lehigh providing most of the news. Colgate junior Peter Baum won the Tewaaraton Trophy as the top collegiate men's lacrosse player, becoming the first Patriot Leaguer to claim the honor. Baum also won the Lt. Enners Award and was named a first-team All-American by the USILA. The Raiders advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Tournament by defeating previously unbeaten Massachusetts 13-11 on the road on May 12. Colgate was knocked out the next week in the quarterfinals against Duke, but still managed to finish at No. 8 in the final Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Top 20. Lehigh was just one spot behind at No. 9, as the Mountain Hawks completed their season with a 14-3 record and a tough 10-9 loss to eventual national runner-up Maryland in the first round of the postseason. After Colgate and Lehigh tied for first place in the regular season with 5-1 records, the Mountain Hawks won the Patriot League Championship by defeating the Raiders 16-14 in Hamilton in the title game on April 29. Seven players joined Baum on the USILA All-America Team, including a trio on the third team. In addition, 11 players and two coaches took part in the USILA/LaxWorld Senior North/South game. Army's Brendan Buckley headed up the academic recognition by claiming the Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year award and a first-team Capital One Academic All-America honor, while Lehigh's Cameron and Roman Lao-Gosney were named Scholar All-Americans by USILA. The brothers also signed contracts to play in Major League Lacrosse along with Navy goalie R.J. Wickham and Army's Tim Henderson.

It was a banner year for Army, who set a Patriot League record with 41 wins and claimed its sixth League title in the process. The Black Knights defeated Holy Cross in a three-game championship series from May 20-22 after knocking off Lafayette in the semifinals the week before. Army finished 18-2 in Patriot League action, setting a record by winning its first 17 League contests, and reached the top 30 of the National Collegiate Baseabll Writers Association (NCBWA) rankings in late April. A number of Black Knights' players earned accolades for their performances. Senior infielder Zach Price was named Patriot League Tournament MVP, while also winning the sport's Scholar-Athlete of the Year award. On a national level, he was named a Lowe's Senior Class Award Finalist and took a spot on the Capital One Academic All-America first team. Army swept all four major Patriot League awards, highlighted by Kevin McKague being named Player of the Year and Chris Rowley taking home the Pitcher of the Year honor. McKague also became the eighth player in League history to be named to the first-team All-Patriot League squad in each of his four seasons, and was a third-team All-American as well as a semifinalist for the John Olerud Award. Rowley received second-team All-America honors from two different organizations and was up for the Dick Howser Trophy. Five Patriot League players were selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, including Navy's Alex Axor (10th round, 325th overall, Toronto Blue Jays), Army's J.T. Watkins (10th round, 331st overall, Boston Red Sox), Navy's Preston Gainey (11th round, 365th overall, Milwaukee Brewers), Holy Cross' Nate Koneski (19th round, 581st overall, Seattle Mariners) and McKague (23rd round, 719th overall, Atlanta Braves). While it was a great year for success and accolades, the 2012 season also marked the final campaign for Bucknell Head Coach Gene Depew, who retired after 30 years at the helm in Lewisburg. Long-time assistant Scott Heather will move up to take over the position.

Men's Soccer
Colgate reached the top of the mountain in Patriot League men's soccer for the fifth time, as the Raiders broke through with a pair of second-half goals to knock off host and top seed American in the championship contest on Nov. 13. Each squad advanced to the title game two days earlier by winning in penalty kicks after scoreless draws in regulation, with American taking down Navy and Colgate eliminating Lehigh. Colgate's Steven Miller was named Tournament Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year, while Jimmy McLaughlin claimed the Rookie of the Year honor. Both players went on to go professional with Major League Soccer, as McLaughlin was signed by the Philadelphia Union and Miller was picked in the third round of the Supplemental Draft by the Montreal Impact. Miller and Lehigh's Kevin Strunk, the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, were named ECAC All-Stars and two of 14 to receive All-Region honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of American (NSCAA). There were academic accolades as well, as American's Matt Makowski won the Scholar Athlete of the Year Award and Navy teammates Sam Miller and Eric Wootten were both named to the Capital One Academic All-America men's Division I soccer team. In addition, Bucknell's Brendan Burgdorf was named a first-team NSCAA Scholar All-America, while Army's Jeff Pickett was placed on the third team. The 2012 season will begin with a new head coach as Marco Koolman was hired in March to direct the program at Holy Cross.

Men's Track and Field
It was another banner year for Bucknell, which claimed the Patriot League Indoor Track and Field Championship for the second straight season and the Outdoor title for the third consecutive campaign, giving the Bison five titles in a row overall in the sport. The Bison held off Navy in each championship, winning the indoor title 185-176.25 in Lewisburg from Feb. 17-19 before claiming the outdoor crown 167-153 over the Mids at Holy Cross from May 4-5. Bucknell's Kevin Donner was named Male Coach of the Year at both the indoor and outdoor meets, while Navy's Mark Vetere was honored as Male Rookie of the Meet in each instance. Navy's Mark Duncavage earned second-team All-America honors at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships by placing 16th in the discus, while Bucknell's Leonard Joseph just missed All-America status with a 17th-place finish in the hammer throw. Bucknell's Tom Barr wrapped up the indoor season by winning the title in the weight throw at the IC4A Championships. Navy's Cody Rome was named the Indoor Track and Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second straight season, and also claimed a second-team Capital One Academic All-America spot. Army's Thomas Wagner shined in the outdoor season as both the Male Field Athlete of the Meet and Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He also made the Academic All-District squad along with Rome and Bucknell's Rob Arent and Jordan Donaldson.

Men's Cross Country
The snow could not stop the Navy Midshipmen, who put on a dominant performance to win their fourth consecutive Patriot League Championship. The Mids had five All-Patriot League performers and scored 38 points to lead the way over second-place American. Colgate's Chris Johnson won the race in a time of 24:53.9, and later went on to compete at the NCAA Championships. Johnson, Lehigh's Evans Kosgei and Navy's Cody Rome and James Pearson were named U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Region, while Rome was also named to the Capital One Academic All-America second team. American's John Pope earned the Male Sportsmanship Award, becoming the first Eagle and first cross country runner to claim the honor.

Men's Swimming and Diving
New year, same story. Swimming at its home pool, Navy blew away the field to win its ninth consecutive Patriot League Championship from Feb. 16-18. Navy's total of 1,029.5 points was nearly 400 ahead of second-place Bucknell, and the Mids were nearly perfect as they won 18 of 20 events including all five relays and an unblemished 13-for-13 in the individual swim races. Navy's Justin Vagts was named Male Swimmer of the Meet and Bill Roberts was named Men's Coach of the Year for their efforts in leading the Mids. Army and Bucknell also took home a pair of major awards, as Will Viana won Male Rookie of the Meet and Chris Nguyen was named Male Diver of the Meet for the Black Knights while Errol Carter won Diving Coach of the Year and Christian Treat earned his second consecutive Scholar Athlete of the Year award for the Bison.

Men's Golf
One year after being edged by Army on the final day of the Patriot League Championship, Navy flipped the script by holding off the Black Knights to claim the 2012 crown on April 29 at Bucknell Golf Course. The Mids were paced by a trio of second-team All-Patriot League selections, and Pat Owen won the Patriot League Coach of the Year award for the eighth time by leading Navy to its sixth League title. Army's William Park won the individual title by six strokes to take the Most Outstanding Player award, and in the process became the first Patriot Leaguer since 2004 to earn a berth to the NCAA Regionals as an individual. Bucknell also netted a pair of major award winners, with Peter Scialabba named Rookie of the Year for finishing as runner-up to Park and J.J. Szmadzinski taking home the Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor. Lafayette's Carter Rufe was honored for his all-around season as a PING All-Northeast Region selection.

Men's Tennis
After having its four-year run as champion come to an end the year before, Navy started another streak in 2012 with a dominating performance to win the Patriot League Championship on its home courts. The Mids, who were the top seed in the field, beat Bucknell 4-1 in the semifinals on April 28 before toppling defending champion Army by the same score in the championship the next day to re-claim the title. Navy went on to the NCAA Tournament as the Patriot League champion, and for the first time individuals from the conference participated in the NCAA Championship as Bucknell's Gregg Cohenca and Evan Zimmer made the field as a doubles pair. For the major awards, Navy's John Officer won Coach of the Year and Calvin Mark won Rookie of the Year and Tournament Most Valuable Player for the Mids, Army's Asika Isoh was named Player of the Year and Lehigh's Andrew Krentz claimed the Scholar Athlete of the Year award.