Patriot League Top 10 of 2013

PATRIOTLEAGUE.ORG Bucknell's Mike Muscala
Bucknell's Mike Muscala

Dec. 30, 2013

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - The 2013 calendar year was certainly one to remember in the Patriot League. The League's landscape was forever changed by the addition of two schools as well as the creation of the free online Patriot League Network, and unprecedented success in NCAA play and individual accolades also made it one of the most unforgettable years in Patriot League history.

Here's a look at the top 10 stories for the Patriot League in 2013.

1. Boston University and Loyola University Maryland join as full members
The Terriers and Greyhounds each began their competition in the Patriot League in the fall. BU has already made an impact by winning two League titles, while each school has multiple teams expected to contend for titles in the winter and spring. The Patriot League strengthened its footprint by adding two distinguished institutions in major cities, and brought on schools that exemplify the League's mission of excelling athletically and academically.

2. Patriot League Network debuts
The creation of Patriot League Network brought additional games and online content to fans, and it's all free! PLN debuted in August, and featured more than 250 games in the fall season with the majority of home games broadcast for League squads. The schedule continues in the winter with nearly all of the basketball home games, and into the spring with more team sports and championships. PLN also features highlights, features and more through Campus Insiders, greatly increasing the League's visibility and exposure for both game coverage and additional content.

3. McCollum and Muscala selected in NBA Draft
The Patriot League only had one player taken in the NBA Draft in its first 22 seasons, then saw two go in a matter of hours on June 27 when Lehigh's C.J. McCollum and Bucknell's Mike Muscala were both selected. McCollum went in the lottery, 10th overall, to the Portland Trail Blazers, while Muscala was picked in the second round, 44th overall, by the Dallas Mavericks before being immediately traded to the Atlanta Hawks. Both players are still waiting to make their NBA debuts, with McCollum out with an injury in Portland and Muscala starting his professional career in Spain.

4. American advances to Round of 16 in NCAA Volleyball Tournament
American made history in the NCAA Volleyball Tournament on Dec. 6, beating Georgia in three sets to capture the first postseason victory for the Patriot League. The next night, the Eagles did it one better by knocking off host and No. 16 seed Duke in three sets to advance to the Round of 16. The Eagles played well there, taking the first set from top-seed Texas before bowing out in four sets. American came in 19th in the final American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll.

5. More postseason success in the fall
American was not the only Patriot League team making its presence felt in an NCAA Tournament this fall. There were also winners in football, men's soccer and women's soccer, with four different schools earning the NCAA wins. Fordham topped Sacred Heart 37-27 at home in the first round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs, Navy blanked VCU 3-0 in the first round of the Men's Soccer Tournament and Boston University held off cross-town rival Harvard 1-0 in a Women's Soccer Tournament first-round contest. American also defeated Quinnpiac 3-1 in a Play-In game of the NCAA Field Hockey Tournament. Navy finished the season in the men's soccer top 25, and Fordham is expected to do so in football.

6. Bucknell sends its seniors out with a title
One of the most successful classes in Patriot League men's basketball history ended its tenure in fine fashion as Bucknell's senior group of Mike Muscala, Joe Willman and Bryson Johnson led the way for a second title in three years by defeating Lafayette in the Patriot League Championship game on March 13. The Bison also set a precedent by becoming the first team to win three consecutive outright regular-season Patriot League titles and posted a school and League record 28 wins on their way to earning a No. 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

7. Navy three-peats in women's hoops
After surviving in overtime in the quarterfinals, Navy posted double-digit wins in the semifinals and championship of the Patriot League Women's Basketball Tournament to earn its third consecutive title. The Mids also shared the regular-season title for the second time in three years.

8. Lafayette beats Lehigh, wins Patriot League Football title
After starting the season 1-5, few would have expected Lafayette to contend for the Patriot League title. But the Leopards got hot and finished the season in style by defeating No. 5 Fordham at home on Nov. 16 and taking down rival Lehigh 50-28 on the road in a de facto Patriot League championship game on Nov. 23. The Leopards won their first League title since 2006 and first outright crown since 1994.

9. Repeat Champions
In addition to the Navy women's basketball three-peat, a host of Patriot League teams won repeat, or more, titles in 2013. It started in the winter, when Navy won its 10th straight men's and second consecutive women's swimming championship and Bucknell took home its second-straight Patriot League Women's Indoor Track and Field Championship. The Navy women won their fourth straight and the Lehigh men took their second title in a row in lacrosse, while Army also repeated in baseball in the spring. Army captured its ninth consecutive women's tennis crown, while Bucknell won its fourth in a row in men's outdoor track and field.

10. Women's Golf Becomes 24th Patriot League Sport
The Patriot League added a sport in 2013 as the first Women's Golf Championship was held on April 19-20. Lehigh edged host Bucknell by three strokes to claim the inaugural crown, with Navy and Holy Cross also competing in the first season.