Aug. 27, 2012
Patriot League Field Hockey Release - 8.27.12
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. -- The Patriot League field hockey season is off and running, with all six teams seeing action on the opening weekend.
Lafayette and Bucknell registered the victories for the conference, with the Leopards defeating Ball State 5-1 and the Bison coming away with a 2-1 victory in overtime at Fairfield.
Home cooking was not in order throughout the League, however. Patriot League teams combined to go 1-7 on their home fields, with Lafayette picking up the lone victory. No. 25 American, Colgate and Lehigh all dropped a pair of home games, while Holy Cross fell in its home opener. Bucknell was the only team that had to go on the road to start the season.
Lafayette and Bucknell each had student-athletes honored for their performances, with Leopard senior Emily Valeo and sophomore Brittany Blass and Bison junior Erica Perrine and freshman Kiersten Sydnor garnering the first set of weekly awards for the year.
Every team will be in action on Labor Day weekend, with No. 25 American hosting No. 15 Ohio State on Friday and Lafayette visiting No. 9 Penn State on Sunday. Each team except for Bucknell will play multiple games on the holiday weekend.
Patriot League Notebook
THE TOP FIVE
*Patriot League teams will play 11 games this week, with two vs. top 25.
*No. 25 American (No. 15 Ohio St.) and Lafayette (No. 9 Penn St.) play ranked teams.
*The Eagles and Leopards also both play at James Madison.
*Lafayette's Deanna DiCroce is up to seventh in League history in assists (30).
*Bucknell's Erica Perrine has won three straight Goalkeeper of the Week awards.
Watch for some of the five top notes on @PatriotLeague Twitter this week!
AMERICAN, LAFAYETTE LEAD WAY IN PRESEASON HONORS
American and Lafayette have formed a competitive rivalry in Patriot League field hockey in recent years, and coaches and sports information directors expect nothing less in 2012 as they put the programs at the top of the preseason poll and gave the Eagles and Leopards the majority of the hardware for the inaugural Field Hockey Preseason All-Patriot League Team.
American just beat out Lafayette for the top spot in the preseason rankings, as the Eagles collected 47 points and seven first-place votes to the Leopards' 45 points and five first-place votes. Bucknell (33), Lehigh (24), Colgate (19) and Holy Cross (12) completed the preseason poll order. American and Lafayette tied for the regular-season title with 4-1 Patriot League records last year, but the Leopards went on to win the Patriot League Championship while the Eagles' eight-year run as titlist came to an end.
The top two also took home the most spots on the inaugural Field Hockey Preseason All-Patriot League Team, including the individual awards. Lafayette senior forward Deanna DiCroce, the reigning Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, claimed the same title for the preseason, while American senior defender Gina Hofmann was named Patriot League Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
A LOOK BACK, A LOOK AHEAD
Patriot League teams opened the 2012 season over the weekend, with Lafayette and Bucknell picking up the first wins of the year on Sunday. The Leopards toppled Ball State 5-1, while the Bison beat Fairfield 2-1 in overtime. Bucknell and American each lost to teams in the top 10 nationally, with the Bison falling at No. 6 Connecticut and the Eagles dropping a 2-1 final at home versus No. 3 Old Dominion. The Eagles, Colgate and Lehigh all dropped a pair of home games, while Holy Cross also fell on its home field. Another busy weekend is ahead before Labor Day, with 11 games on the schedule including No. 25 American hosting No. 15 Ohio State on Friday and Lafayette visiting No. 9 Penn State on Sunday.
PATRIOT LEAGUE FIELD HOCKEY WEEKLY AWARDS
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
EMILY VALEO, LAFAYETTE Sr., MF, Norristown, Pa.
Valeo had a strong all-around effort to help Lafayette open the season with a 5-1 win over Ball State on Sunday. She contributed a goal and two assists in the game, playing a role in three of the Leopards' final four goals. Valeo, a Preseason All-Patriot League pick, is named Offensive Player of the Week for the first time in her career.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
BRITTANY BLASS, LAFAYETTE So., MF, Mountain Top, Pa.
Blass picked up right where she left off last season, as the 2011 Patriot League Rookie of the Year and Preseason All-Patriot League pick scored twice to lead Lafayette to a 5-1 win in its season opener against Ball State on Sunday. Blass gave Lafayette an early 2-0 lead with a goal less than five minutes into the contest, and tallied the final score of the game in the 53rd minute. She also helped pace a Lafayette defense that surrendered just five shots overall on the afternoon. She earns her first Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week award.
GOALKEEPER OF THE WEEK
ERICA PERRINE, BUCKNELL Jr., GK, Bridgewater, N.J.
Perrine had two solid efforts to start the season, making 10 saves in a 3-0 loss to No. 6 Connecticut on Saturday before stopping five shots to help the Bison to a 2-1 overtime victory at Fairfield on Sunday. Perrine recorded a .789 save percentage in the two games while playing the entirety of both in goal. The junior, who was named a second-team All-Patriot League pick last year, earns the Goalkeeper of the Week award for the third time after claiming the final two honors last season.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
KIERSTEN SYDNOR, BUCKNELL Fr., F, Shippensburg, Pa.
Sydnor picked an opportune time for her first collegiate goal, scoring just 1:02 into overtime to send Bucknell to a 2-1 victory at Fairfield on Sunday. The goal gave the Bison their fifth straight overtime victory, and seventh in the last eight games dating back to 2010.
ELIANA BROWN, COLGATE So., F, Annandale, Va.
Brown had a pair of goals in Colgate's 3-2 loss to Bryant on Saturday. It was the first two-goal game in her career.
KIM ENG, LEHIGH Sr., F, Morristown, N.J.
Eng had a goal and two assists in Lehigh's 4-3 overtime loss to Ball State to open the season on Saturday.
KAT MATCHETT, HOLY CROSS So., GK, Maple Glen, Pa.
Matchett made five saves, stopping .833 percent of the shots she faced, in a 1-0 loss to Quinnipiac on Friday.