April 14, 2012
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - The field has been set for the 2012 Patriot League Men's Lacrosse Tournament, with the same four teams making the playoff for the second year in a row.
By virtue of Army's 9-6 win over Navy at West Point, N.Y., and No. 14/12 Colgate's 18-7 romp over Lafayette in Hamilton, N.Y., in Saturday's early games, the Black Knights and Raiders both secured bids to the Patriot League Tournament, which gets underway with the semifinals April 27.
Bucknell and Lehigh, which faced off later Saturday evening at the Ulrich Sports Complex in Bethlehem, Pa., also clinched berths to the tournament because of the results earlier in the day. Colgate's victory was the key for the Mountain Hawks, while the Bison needed the combination of Army and Colgate winning to get in.
Then Saturday evening, Dante Fantoni's game-winner with 13 seconds left lifted the Mountain Hawks to a 9-8 win over the Bison. That keeps Lehigh in the picture to host the tournament, while Colgate assumes the pole position. A win for the Raiders Friday at Bucknell and they will host the Patriot League Tournament. That game is set for 7 p.m. at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium and will be televised nationally by CBS Sports Network.
Colgate last hosted the tournament in 2006, while Lehigh has never entertained the field.
The 2012 tournament will begin Friday, April 27 with semifinal contests at 5 p.m. and 7:45 p.m., while the championship game on Sunday, April 29 is set for 3 p.m. All three games will be televised by CBS Sports Network.
Army qualified for its League-record eight consecutive Patriot League Tournament. A year ago, the Black Knights were the No. 3 seed and lost 7-6 to No. 2 Colgate in the semifinals. Army is two years removed from its only tournament championship, which came at Michie Stadium with victories over Bucknell and Navy.
Bucknell has advanced to every Patriot League Tournament since 2007 and will officially have an opportunity to defend its 2011 title. The Bison's stretch of six straight tournament appearances is the third longest in League annals, behind the aforementioned Army streak along with Navy's seven qualifications from 2004-10.
Colgate is in the four-team playoff for the second straight season and seventh time overall. Featuring one of the nation's top offenses all season long, the Raiders received five goals and seven points from Tewaaraton Trophy candidate Peter Baum in Saturday's win over Lafayette. The Raiders' last title came in 2008.
Lehigh is in the Patriot League Tournament in back-to-back years for the second time. The Mountain Hawks were also in the four-team playoff in 2005 and again in '06 before returning last year following a four-year absence. Lehigh will seek its first Patriot League Tournament title.