Patriot League Men's Soccer Tournament Preview

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Freshman goalkeeper Mike Lansing leads No. 4 seed Bucknell into the Patriot League Men's Soccer Tournament.
Freshman goalkeeper Mike Lansing leads No. 4 seed Bucknell into the Patriot League Men's Soccer Tournament.

Nov. 8, 2012

2012 Patriot League Men's Soccer Tournament Preview Get Acrobat Reader

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — The Patriot League Men’s Soccer Tournament returns to American’s Reeves Field in Washington, D.C. for the second straight season, with the host Eagles looking to overcome last season’s disappointing end.

American has advanced to the championship match in each of the last three seasons, falling to Bucknell in 2009 and ‘10, and bowing to Colgate last season. The Eagles have no shortage of experience, but they’re looking to claim the League trophy again for the third time overall and first since 2004. American posted a 5-0-2 mark against League teams to capture the regular season crown, but the team wants more.

Standing in American’s way are three teams that have all had postseason success. Defending champion Colgate is this year’s No. 3 seed, and the team that defeated American in last year’s final. The Raiders have won three of the last five championships, including back-to-back titles in 2007-08.

Bucknell had captured three titles in five years before missing out on the tournament a year ago. The Bison are back in 2012, and are looking to add to their trophy haul after capturing League titles in 2006 and 2009-10. Bucknell earned the fourth seed, the same slot it held in their last championship run two years ago.

And then there’s Lafayette. After two years of disappointing finishes that saw the Leopards barely miss the postseason, they’re back in the tournament as the No. 2 seed. Lafayette qualified for the four-team field eight straight years from 2002-09, winning two titles along the way (2003, 2005). The Leopards have won a League-best six championships overall.

All three tournament contests will be streamed via Patriot League All-Access.

Patriot League Tournament Quick Hits

• The programs in this year’s four-team field have combined to win 16 of the 22 Patriot League men’s soccer championships to this point. Lafayette leads with six, followed by Colgate’s five, Bucknell’s three and American’s pair.

• This year’s field accounts for each of the last nine championships and 10 of the last 11. America won in 2001 and ‘04, Lafayette in 2003 and ‘05, Bucknell in 2006 and ‘09-’10 and Colgate in 2007-08 and ‘11.

• American’s 5-0-2 mark against League teams is its first conference unbeaten mark since joining the League in 2001. It’s the Eagles’ third undefeated conference mark in history, joining 1984 (ECAC South) and 1997 (CAA).

• American is hosting for the fourth time. Each instance has come in back-to-back years, as the Eagles also welcomed the other three teams to Washington, D.C. in 2004 and ‘05 in addition to 2011.

• Two of Bucknell’s three League championships have come as the No. 4 seed (2006, 2010).

• Colgate is making its sixth appearance as the No. 3 seed, but has lost all five previous semifinal appearances from that position.

• Lafayette is 6-0-2 all-time as the tournament’s No. 2 seed with three championships (1993, 2003, 2005).

Patriot League Tournament Preview

No. 4 Bucknell Bison (7-7-5, 2-3-2 Patriot League) at No. 1 American Eagles (10-5-2, 5-0-2 Patriot League), 11 a.m.

2012 MATCHUP American, 1-0 (9.29 – Washington, D.C.) LAST PL TOURNAMENT MEETING Bucknell, 2-0 (11.14.2010) TOURNAMENT HISTORY Bucknell, 2-0-0 AMERICAN PLT ALL-TIME 5-4-5 BUCKNELL PLT ALL-TIME 4-4-5

AMERICAN The Eagles are hosting the Patriot League Tournament for the fourth time overall and second straight year ... They boasted the most number of All-Patriot League selections earlier this week with six, including a League-high four on the first team ... American is the League’s hottest team entering the postseason, with a 4-0-1 record in its last five ... Junior midfielder Colin Seigfreid earned placement on the All-League first team after leading the League with seven assists and 17 points in the regular season ... Dale McDonald and Alassane Kane tied for second on the team with 13 points ... McDonald earned first-team laurels, while Kane, the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year selection, was named to the second team ... Chris Kuramoto, an Academic All-League selection, has a pair of goals with three assists for seven points ... Goalkeeper of the Year Billy Knutsen brings a 0.92 goals-against average and a .832 save percentage into the tournament ... The Eagles are 2-0-1 all-time in the semifinals as the top seed, but are 0-2-0 overall against Bucknell in the tournament.

BUCKNELL The Bison just got into the tournament as the No. 4 seed, despite losing 1-0 in overtime at Lafayette in the regular season finale ... Senior forward Brendan Burgdorf earned second-team All-League laurels after finishing with the team lead and tied for ninth in the League with 11 points ... His five assists are tied for third-best entering the tournament ... Freshman Jesse Klug leads the League with 65 shots and 3.42 per game ... He’s tied with Burgdorf for the team lead with three markers, while his 10 points are second on the squad ... Another freshman, Mike Lansing, has been strong in net for Bucknell ... He enters the tournament with the League’s best goals-against average (0.85) and save percentage (.847) while averaging a League-best 4.88 saves per contest ... His five clean sheets are third in the League ... Bucknell has the ability to rack up the goals, outscoring opponents 15-1 during a five-match win streak earlier in the season ... Bucknell’s title in 2010 came as the No. 4 seed.

No. 2 Lafayette Leopards (7-7-4, 3-1-3 Patriot League) vs. No. 3 Colgate Raiders (5-7-6, 3-1-3 Patriot League), 2 p.m.

2012 MATCHUP T, 2-2 (2OT) (10.20 – Hamilton, N.Y.) LAST PL TOURNAMENT MEETING Colgate, 2-0 (11.14.2008) TOURNAMENT HISTORY Tied, 2-2-0 LAFAYETTE PLT ALL-TIME 15-8-4 COLGATE PLT ALL-TIME 7-9-4

LAFAYETTE The Leopards return to the Patriot League Tournament after a two-year absence ... They missed the 2010 postseason by one point, before losing out on a tiebreaker last season ... Midfielder Alec Golini earned first-team All-League honors after finishing in the League’s top 10 in goals (6) and points (13) ... Second-team All-League midfielder Sean Peckham is second on the squad with eight points heading into the postseason ... Goalkeeper Nathan McDonald has a 7-4-3 record with a 1.02 goals-against average while stopping 72.2 percent of shots kicked his way ... His six shutouts are tied for the League lead with American’s Billy Knutsen ... Lafayette owns a League-best 15 victories in the tournament, and has captured three championships as the second seed ... Three of the Leopards’ four previous meetings with Colgate in the tournament have been in the semifinals ... Lafayette will try to snap a three-match skid in the tournament ... The Leopards fell in the finals of the 2007 tournament, and fell in the semifinals in 2008 and ‘09 ...

COLGATE The Raiders won their third League title in five years in 2011, after capturing back-to-back championships in 2007-08 ... Senior Mike Reidy earned first-team All-League honors and was named the Offensive Player of the Year ... He has seven goals total and three game-winners, both League bests ... He scored four times and had two assists for 10 points against League opponents this season ... Colgate was second with five All-League honorees ... Never before in Patriot League men’s soccer history has there been three consecutive pairs of champions ... Five players have five points or more ... Mike Garzi (3 goals, 2 assists) and Shane Conlin (2, 3) are second and third on the team in scoring behind Reidy ... Liam Stapleton earned second-team All-League laurels at goalkeeper after finishing the regular season fourth with a 1.21 goals-against average ... He’s made 14 appearances this season with one shutout and has recorded four of the Raiders’ five wins ... Colgate has outscored opponents 3-0 in extra time this season.


POTENTIAL MATCHUPS Colgate is 0-1-1 against American and Bucknell this season after drawing 1-1 with the Eagles and falling 1-0 to the Bison ... Lafayette also drew with the Eagles but defeated the Bison in the regular season finale to go 1-0-1 against the other two semifinalists ... American’s two draws in Patriot League play came against Colgate and Lafayette ... Bucknell is 1-1-0 against Colgate and Lafayette this season ... American is 1-1-0 all-time against both Colgate and Lafayette in the tournament ... Bucknell is 1-1-1 all-time in the four-team field against Lafayette and 1-0-2 against the Raiders.

Patriot League Tournament Notebook

American’s Reeves Field will serve as the host of the 2012 Patriot League Men’s Soccer Tournament, which takes place Friday/Sunday, Nov. 9/11 in Washington, D.C. It’s the second straight season in which the Eagles are welcoming the field of four to the nation’s capital. Last season American advanced to the title match but fell to No. 2 seed Colgate. The defending champion Raiders are back in the 2012 field, this time as the third seed, along with two teams that were absent from last year’s playoff in second-seeded Lafayette and No. 4 Bucknell.

Now in the 23rd season of men’s soccer, there aren’t many firsts left to accomplish for the Patriot League, but there indeed was a first on Tuesday when American’s Todd West was named Coach of the Year for the second straight season. It’s the first time in League history in which the same person has been named Coach of the Year in the sport in consecutive years. Tuesday was a big day for American, as it collected a total of four major trophies when the awards were announced.

After qualifying for the Patriot League Tournament eight years in a row, Lafayette had been on the outside looking in on the four-team field by the slimmest of margins. The Leopards missed out on the tournament in 2010 by just one point, and last year were eliminated on a tiebreaker. There was no guesswork this season, as the Leopards enter the postseason with upward momentum after Saturday’s 1-0 overtime victory over Bucknell, which gave them the tournament’s No. 2 seed.

Colgate has been one of the League’s most successful programs of late, capturing three championships in the last five years, including the 2011 title. The Raiders secured last year’s championship with a 2-0 win over host American in the finals a year after hosting the 2010 field but being eliminated in the semifinals. Colgate won back-to-back titles in 2007-08 before last year’s championship.

The final day of the regular season was up and down for Bucknell, which began by falling 1-0 in overtime at Lafayette. The Bison were still mathematically alive for the fourth and final berth into the tournament, but needed a lot of assistance. Help came in the form of Army’s 2-2 draw with Lehigh, which eliminated the Mountain Hawks from the postseason, followed by Colgate’s double-overtime victory at Navy in the last regular season contest of the season that sunk Holy Cross’ playoff hopes. The Bison are in the tournament after missing out in 2011 following back-to-back championships in 2009-10.

Two of American’s major awards Tuesday came on defense. Junior Cristobal Soto was named the Defensive Player of the Year by the League’s head coaches, and classmate Billy Knutsen was honored as the Goalkeeper of the Year. Both also picked up first-team All-League accolades. The Eagles have given up the fewest goals of any League squad this season, thanks in large part to Soto and Knutsen. Both players earned multiple weekly honors from the Patriot League during the season.

Colgate senior Mike Reidy was named the Offensive Player of the Year this week, becoming the second straight Raider to claim the honor. Former Raider standout and current assistant coach Steven Miller was named to the award last season. Colgate hopes Reidy’s regular season trophy portends good things for its title chances. Miller was named the Patriot League Tournament MVP last season following the Raiders’ championship victory over American in the finals.

Junior Colin Seigfreid earned first-team All-Patriot League honors Tuesday, and later that afternoon added Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors. He truly demonstrates the balance that can exist between high athletic and academic achievement. The midfielder leads the Patriot League with 17 points and seven assists heading into the tournament, and carries a 3.64 cumulative grade-point average majoring in business administration.

For the first time in tournament history, both semifinal contests went scoreless through 110 minutes, forcing both to require penalty kicks. In the end, it was host American and No. 2 seed Colgate that advanced to the championship final, and after 45 scoreless minutes it appeared they could be headed to extra time again. But Mike Garzi’s diving header in the 70th minute and Mike Reidy’s insurance marker in the 83rd propelled the Raiders to the 2011 League title and NCAA Tournament. Colgate’s Steven Miller was named Tournament MVP. It was the Raiders’ third title in five seasons.