April 18, 2012
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — It didn’t take long for the dominoes to begin falling Saturday, and even before Bucknell and Lehigh faced off that evening in Bethlehem, we had our field of four for the 2012 Patriot League Men’s Lacrosse Tournament.
Patriot League Men's Lacrosse Release - 4.18.12
Saturday started with a pair of all-star performances from two of the nation’s best offensive threats. Junior Garrett Thul scored five times, including three unassisted markers, to pace the scoring in Army’s 9-6 victory over Navy at Michie Stadium on CBS Sports Network. For the second straight season the victory in the rivalry meeting lifted Army into the Patriot League Tournament, while the Black Knights have won four in a row and five of six in the series.
An hour after the Army-Navy contest had gone final, Colgate put the finishing touches on an 18-7 victory over Lafayette in the Raiders’ final home game before the Patriot League Tournament. Fellow junior Peter Baum scored five times and dished a pair of assists before taking a seat in the fourth quarter to watch his teammates complete the win. Colgate not only wrapped up a berth in the four-team League Tournament that takes place next week, but it also put itself into prime position to capture the No. 1 seed and host.
The combination of victories by Army and Colgate earlier in the day meant that both Bucknell and Lehigh had qualified for the Patriot League Tournament even before they took the field for their 7 p.m. contest in Bethlehem. Despite each being in the postseason already, both teams played as if they had much on the line, with the Mountain Hawks earning a hard-fought 9-8 victory thanks to Dante Fantoni’s game-winner with 14 seconds remaining.
Army extended its streak of appearances in the Patriot League Tournament to a record eight straight seasons. Bucknell, which is the defending League champion, has earned a berth for the sixth straight season. The Bison have been in every four-team playoff since 2007. Colgate, which is in the tournament for the second year in a row and will make its seventh all-time appearance, has hosted the playoff once before in 2006. Lehigh, which has also qualified for the tournament for the second straight year, has never hosted.
The field for the 2012 Patriot League Tournament is exactly the same as last year, although the seeding will be different. Bucknell was last year’s No. 1 seed and hosted, but the Bison can only be the Nos. 2, 3 or 4 seeds this time around. Army can only be the third or fourth seed. Only Colgate or Lehigh can host the tournament.
More dominoes will fall Friday when No. 13/11 Colgate visits 18th-ranked Bucknell at 7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. Dave Ryan will provide the play-by-play, while Steve Panarelli will be the analyst. Lehigh will watch anxiously from Bethlehem, because Colgate will host the tournament with a win over the Bison. In the event of a Bucknell victory, then Lehigh will claim the No. 1 seed regardless of its result against Lafayette Saturday afternoon. In any and all potential three- or four-way ties, Lehigh would emerge as the No. 1 seed.
Patriot League Notebook
COLGATE LOOKING TO HOST
Colgate improved to 4-1 in Patriot League play with Saturday’s 18-7 victory over Lafayette. Now the Raiders find themselves just a win away from clinched home field for the entire Patriot League Tournament, which begins April 27 with semifinal contests at 5 and 8 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. But if Colgate wants to host, it will have to pick up a victory on the road in a place that’s been very difficult for Patriot League teams. The Raiders visit Bucknell Friday at 7 p.m., where the Bison had won 11 straight against League opponents before falling 6-5 in double overtime to Army on April 7.
LEHIGH NOW ROOTING FOR BUCKNELL
A week after handing them a tough 9-8 loss in Bethlehem, Lehigh becomes big fans of the Bucknell Bison when they host Colgate Friday night. In order to host the Patriot League Tournament for the first time, all the Mountain Hawks need is a Bucknell win over the Raiders. Lehigh owns the advantage in any potential three- or four-way ties for first place, so even with a loss Saturday at rival Lafayette, the Mountain Hawks would host the tournament with a Bucknell defeat of Colgate.
SEEDS COULD BE ALL SET FRIDAY NIGHT
Friday night’s result between Bucknell and Colgate in Lewisburg, Pa., won’t just determine the tournament’s top seed and host. It could also slot all four teams into their slots even before Saturday’s action gets underway. If Colgate picks up the win on the road against the Bison, then Lehigh, Army and Bucknell would be locked into the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 seeds, respectively.
RATINGS IN THE RPI
The NCAA released its first batch of RPI ratings in men’s lacrosse on Monday. Of the four teams in the Patriot League Tournament, Lehigh ranks the highest at No. 8, while Colgate sits 14th. Bucknell, which remained No. 18 in both national polls this week, is ranked 18th in the RPI as well, while Army comes in at No. 24.
MORE NATIONAL TV THIS WEEK
As the season gears up for its most exciting stretch with the Patriot League Tournament just around the corner, there are two games on national television this weekend that involve League squads, with both being aired on CBS Sports Network. Colgate heads to Bucknell Friday at 7 p.m. in a game that will determine the No. 1 seed for the tournament. Dave Ryan will provide the play-by-play with Steve Panarelli handling the analysis. A day later, Navy hosts No. 6/7 Johns Hopkins in a non-League matchup in Annapolis at noon. Dave Ryan will be on the call again with analysis from Evan Washburn.
Though the seeding will be different this time around, 2012 marks the second straight year in which Army, Bucknell, Colgate and Lehigh have populated the four-team field for the Patriot League Tournament. It’s the second time in history the same four squads have qualified in consecutive years. Army, Bucknell, Colgate and Navy all made the tournament for three straight seasons from 2007-09.
WHAT HAPPENS IF...
With three League games this weekend, there are eight possible scenarios that could emerge depending on results. In addition to Bucknell hosting Colgate Friday at 7 p.m., Army stays home to welcome Holy Cross Saturday at noon, while Lehigh plays at rival Lafayette at 2 p.m. Since a Colgate win Friday night would lock in the other three seeds, only four scenarios remain to impact seeding:
•If Bucknell, Lehigh and Army win: 1) Lehigh; 2) Colgate; 3) Army; 4) Bucknell
•If Bucknell, Lehigh and Holy Cross win: 1) Lehigh; 2) Bucknell; 3) Colgate; 4) Army
•If Bucknell, Lafayette and Army win: 1) Lehigh; 2) Colgate; 3) Army; 4) Bucknell
•If Bucknell, Lafayette and Holy Cross win: 1) Lehigh; 2) Colgate; 3) Bucknell; 4) Army
HAMILTON OR BETHLEHEM?
No matter which of Colgate or Lehigh hosts the Patriot League Tournament, the four-team playoff will be played in a location that doesn’t normally serve in that capacity. Hamilton, N.Y., has been the tournament’s location once before in 2006, with the top-seeded Raiders falling to Army in the semifinals and Navy eventually emerging as champion. On the other hand, Bethlehem, Pa., has never hosted the tournament.
ARMY CLIMBS INTO TOP 20
With two victories in League play in as many weeks, Army moved into the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll at No. 20, putting four Patriot League teams in that national ranking this week. The Black Knights are behind 10th-ranked Lehigh, No. 11 Colgate and 18th-ranked Bucknell in that list. Meanwhile in the latest USILA Coaches Poll out Monday, Lehigh leads the way at No. 12, with 13th-ranked Colgate close behind. Bucknell stood pat at No. 18, while Army was outside the top 20 but received votes.
THUL, BAUM STILL RACING UP THE CHART
Colgate junior Peter Baum and Army junior Garrett Thul continued providing significant pieces of their team’s offenses last weekend. Baum scored five goals and finished with seven points in the Raiders’ victory over Lafayette, while Thul’s five tallies were critical in the Black Knights’ 9-6 triumph over rival Navy. Baum’s 48 goals are tied for the third most in a single season in Patriot League history and are the most since Lehigh’s Mark Duncan scored 54 in 1997. Bucknell’s Justin Zackey owns the League’s single-season mark of 63 goals set in 1993. Baum, who leads the nation averaging 4.00 goals per game, is trailed by Thul, who is fourth nationally averaging 3.00 per contest. Thul’s 119 career goals are seventh all-time in League annals, and are just 19 shy of the record. Baum has 111 career markers, placing him just outside the League’s all-time top 10.
PATRIOT LEAGUE ON CBS SPORTS NETWORK
CBS Sports Network, the official broadcast partner of the Patriot League, has had many men’s lacrosse games on the docket in 2012 already, and has several critical contests remaining. Bucknell hosts Colgate Friday at 7 p.m. with Dave Ryan handling the play-by-play and Steve Panarelli providing the analysis. Ryan will be in the booth again Saturday in Annapolis when Navy welcomes No. 6/7 Johns Hopkins for a 12 p.m. start. Evan Washburn will be the analyst. The following weekend, CBS Sports Network will televised all three games of the Patriot League Tournament, beginning with the two semifinal tilts Friday, April 27 at 5 and 8 p.m., along with the championship game on Sunday, April 29 at 3 p.m. Ryan and Washburn will handle the calls at the tournament.
Two student-athletes have met the Patriot League record for goals in a game this season, with it occurring twice in two weeks. Colgate’s Peter Baum first achieved the standard with eight markers in the Raiders’ 24-14 walloping of Robert Morris March 3, and Bucknell’s Todd Heritage matched it in the Bison’s 14-10 victory over Hobart a week later. Lehigh’s Mark Duncan was the first to score eight goals in a game in 1997. The record has been matched five times since, including four times in the last three seasons. Bucknell’s Billy Eisenreich is not to be left out of the offensive parade, as he matched a school record with 11 points in The Bison’s 17-10 triumph against Robert Morris on March 20.
SEEKING THE TEWAARATON TROPHY
A total of nine student-athletes in the Patriot League were named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List in men’s lacrosse in February, and a 10th was added Wednesday. Holy Cross junior James Kennedy was one of nine additions made Wednesday to the list, which was originally unveiled in February. Army, Bucknell, Lehigh and Navy each have two student-athletes named to the watch list, while Colgate boasts one. Kennedy joins senior Tim Henderson and junior Garrett Thul from Army; senior Billy Eisenreich and junior Kyle Feeney from Bucknell; junior Peter Baum from Colgate; juniors Dante Fantoni and Ryan Snyder from Lehigh; and senior Nikk Davis and sophomore Sam Jones from Navy. Both of this year’s preseason major award winners in the Patriot League are on the list. Baum was the coaches’ and SIDs’ selection as the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while Henderson was named the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
BUCKNELL CHOSEN TO REPEAT
Coming off an impressive 14-3 season, an undefeated run through the Patriot League and an overtime loss to eventual national champion Virginia in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the defending Patriot League Champion Bucknell Bison topped the 2012 preseason men’s lacrosse poll. Bucknell claimed the No. 1 position with the maximum 72 points and 12 first-place votes. The Bison finished 18 points ahead of second-place Army, which collected 54 points and the remaining two first-place ballots. 2011 runner-up Colgate took a close third with 52 points, while Lehigh was next in fourth with 44 points. Taking fifth was Navy with 38 points, while Lafayette (19 points) and Holy Cross (15) rounded out the poll in sixth and seventh, respectively. Colgate junior Peter Baum was named the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while Army senior Tim Henderson was tabbed as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Patriot League Weekly Awards
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
GARRETT THUL, ARMY Jr., A, Flemington, N.J.
In a winner-take-all contest Saturday for a Patriot League Tournament berth, Thul scored five times, including a highlight-reel over-the-shoulder tally late in the contest to lift Army to a 9-6 victory over Navy at Michie Stadium. The win put the Black Knights into the four-team playoff for the eighth straight season. Three of Thul’s markers were unassisted, while the remaining two came off helpers from John Glesener. The junior from Flemington, N.J., has scored in 36 straight games and has 23 career hat tricks, including seven this season. With 119 career goals, Thul is all alone in seventh on the League’s all-time list.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
MIKE NOONE, LEHIGH Jr., D, Jenkintown, Pa.
Noone posted career-highs with six ground balls and four caused turnovers to pace the Lehigh defense in its thrilling 9-8 win over No. 18 Bucknell Saturday night in Bethlehem, Pa. Noone logged the caused turnover and ensuing ground ball with just over three minutes remaining that set up Lehigh’s final possession, which ended with Dante Fantoni’s game-winning goal with 14 seconds left. Noone marked Bucknell’s Chase Bailey, who entered the game with 24 goals and 33 points but was held to just a single goal in the game.
GOALKEEPER OF THE WEEK
ZACH PALMIERI, ARMY Sr., GK, Syracuse, N.Y.
Palmieri stopped eight shots and yielded six goals to backstop Army to a 9-6 victory over Navy Saturday at Michie Stadium. The game was tied at 6-6 entering the fourth quarter, and Palmieri made two critical saves in the final 15 minutes while the Black Knight offense scored three times to secure the win. The senior, who is the full-time starter for the first time after backing up Tom Palesky for three seasons, lowered his goals-against average to 8.82 and owns a .512 save percentage on the season.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
MATT POILLON, LEHIGH Fr., GK, Mount Sinai, N.Y.
Poillon made eight saves and allowed eight goals to a Bucknell offense that was averaging nearly 12 per game in Saturday’s 9-8 victory for Lehigh over the Bison. He made five saves in the first half that kept the Mountain Hawks within 5-3 at halftime, and followed it up with two big stops in the third quarter while enabling Lehigh to rally for a 6-5 lead. Poillon has allowed just 51 goals in Lehigh’s 11 victories this season, and he remains the League leader with a 6.04 goals-against average.
PETER BAUM, COLGATE Jr., A/M, Portland, Ore.
Baum scored five times and added two assists in Colgate’s 18-7 win Saturday over Lafayette. The junior has 111 career goals and is two shy of entering the League’s all-time top 10. The Raiders clinched a Patriot League Tournament berth with the victory.
BILLY EISENREICH, BUCKNELL Sr., A, Chatham, N.J.
Eisenreich became the first player in the nation this season with 30 goals and 30 assists after posting five goals and seven points in a pair of games for the Bison last week. He scored twice and had two assists in the Bison’s heartbreaking 9-8 loss at Lehigh Saturday evening.
DANTE FANTONI, LEHIGH Sr., A, Hauppauge, N.Y.
Fantoni scored twice Saturday against Bucknell, with his second of the game coming with 14 seconds left to lift Lehigh to a thrilling 9-8 win over the Bison. He finished with three points, all of which came after halftime.
MIKE HUFFNER, BUCKNELL Jr., D, Elmira, N.Y.
Huffner finished the week with six caused turnovers and four ground balls, and was stellar in leading Bucknell’s stifling defense in an 8-3 win Tuesday over Penn. He collected four caused turnovers in the triumph against the Quakers, and added two more in Saturday’s loss at Lehigh.
KYLE FEENEY, BUCKNELL Jr., GK, Greenwich, Conn.
Feeney went 1-1 between the pipes for Bucknell, averaging 9.5 saves per game and recording a .613 save percentage during that span.
BOBBY LAWRENCE, COLGATE So., D, Summit, N.J.
Lawrence picked up five ground balls and logged four caused turnovers in Colgate’s 18-7 win over Lafayette Saturday in Hamilton, N.Y.