CENTER VALLEY, Pa. -- The 2012 schedule continues to inch towards Patriot League play, with only one weekend left before League squads will begin the chase for the title.
Patriot League teams play on four consecutive days from Thursday-Sunday, but the highlight of the weekend slate comes on Saturday. Lafayette puts its new spot in the NFHCA top 25 on the line when the No. 18 Leopards visit No. 21 Albany, while a Bucknell team that is rated 20th in RPI will host No. 17-ranked Michigan.
Five games will follow on Sunday, with each squad except the Leopards in action. Four teams will play a pair of games during the week, while Lafayette and American will each play once.
Lafayette entered the top 25 in large part because of its performance over the weekend. The Leopards topped No. 15 Drexel 2-1 at home on Friday before winning 4-2 at Quinnipiac on Sunday to improve to 5-1 on the season.
American, Bucknell and Lehigh also recorded wins over the weekend. The Eagles beat Central Michigan 2-1 on Sunday at the Michigan State Invitational after fallling to the No. 19 Spartans 3-2 on Friday. The Bison beat up on Towson 6-0 on Saturday, while the Mountain Hawks got by Georgetown 3-2 on Sunday.
Patriot League Notebook
THE TOP FIVE @PATRIOTLEAGUE NOTES
*Lafayette cracked the NFHCA top 25 at No. 18 on Tuesday, and also ranks No. 9 in the latest RPI ratings.
*The Leopards entered the rankings after two wins over the weekend, including a 2-1 triumph over No. 15 Drexel on Friday.
*Lafayette will put its ranking on the line at No. 21 Albany on Saturday, while Bucknell also hosts No. 17 Michigan.
*The Bison rank No. 20 in the RPI that was released on Tuesday.
*Four teams will play twice while American and Lafayette each play once on the final week of play before the Patriot League schedule begins.
Lafayette Enters Top 25 After Win Over No. 15 Drexel
Lafayette's strong start to the season has been recognized by national voters, as the Leopards came in at No. 18 in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) top 25 released on Tuesday. Lafayette cracks the rankings with a 5-1 record, including a 2-1 win over then No. 15 Drexel on Friday in Easton. The Leopards also own an impressive 2-1 win at James Madison on Sept. 1, and their only loss came the next day when they fell 3-2 at a Penn State team that is now No. 6 in the nation. To read the full release on the Leopards entering the top 25 for the first time since 2002, go here
The Patriot League featured Lafayette senior Deanna DiCroce in this week's student-athlete spotlight.
Leopards, Bison Both Shine in RPI Rating
While the Leopards rank No. 18 in the NFHCA poll, their standing is even better in the data provided for the NCAA RPI. Lafayette ranks No. 9 in the RPI, boosted by the win over Drexel and a 3-1 road record. Bucknell also has a strong RPI position, with the Bison at No. 20 in the rating with a 5-3 record.
This and That
Bucknell's Vickie Resh has helped the United States team to a 4-1 record and second place in Pool B at the Junior Women's Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico...The United States will play Argentina in a semifinal on Monday...The top two countries at the Junior Pan American games advance to the International Hockey Federation's 7th Women's Junior World Cup...Lafayette's Emily Valeo ranks sixth on the NCAA leaderboard with 0.83 assists per game, while Leopard goalkeeper Jessica Deutsch is 14th with a 1.33 goals against average...Lehigh's Sydney Maltinsky-Wilson stands sixth in the nation with 9.14 saves per game, while teammate Marie Mignogna is tied for the NCAA lead with four defensive saves...Lafayette is in the top 20 nationally in scoring, goals against average and scoring margin.
PATRIOT LEAGUE FIELD HOCKEY WEEKLY AWARDS
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK DEANNA DiCROCE, LAFAYETTESr., F, Doylestown, Pa. DiCroce assisted on both of Lafayette's goals in a 2-1 win over No. 15 Drexel on Friday, then tallied an insurance marker late in a 4-2 win over Quinnipiac on Sunday as the Leopards improved to 5-1 on the season. Lafayette scored on a penalty corner with no time on the clock in the first half and added another midway through the second half against Drexel, with DiCroce feeding the entry pass on both goals. Lafayette earned its first victory over a ranked opponent since a win over No. 21 Penn State in 2009. DiCroce scored in the final minutes against Quinnipiac as Lafayette rallied from an early two-goal deficit. She moved into eighth place in Patriot League history with 109 career points, and tied for third with 33 assists. DiCroce earns her first Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week award of the season, and now stands alone as the all-time leader with seven career honors.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK BRITTANY BLASS, LAFAYETTE So., M/D, Mountain Top, Pa. Blass had both goals off penalty corners in Lafayette's 2-1 win over No. 15 Drexel on Friday, and led a defense that allowed only 12 total shots in two wins last week. Blass gave Lafayette a 1-0 lead going into halftime with her first goal against Drexel, then added what turned out to be the game-winner with 16 minutes to go. Lafayette's defense also stood tall against the 15th-ranked team in the nation as the Leopards held a 10-8 advantage in shots and 8-2 in penalty corners. Lafayette allowed only four shots in a 4-2 win over Quinnipiac on Sunday, with the defense helping the Leopards to rally from an early 2-0 hole. Blass is named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season.
GOALKEEPER OF THE WEEK ERICA PERRINE, BUCKNELL Jr., GK, Bridgewater, N.J. Perrine earns her second Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week award this season, and the fourth in her career, with a strong week that included a 2-0 shutout of Towson on Saturday and 13 saves in a 3-1 defeat against Ohio State on Sunday. Perrine made two saves in the 6-0 win over the Tigers before keeping the Bison close by stopping more than 80 percent of the shots she faced versus the Buckeyes. The shutout of Towson was the first of the season and third in Perrine's career. Her three shutouts and 147 career saves both rank 11th in Bucknell history.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK KIERSTEN SYDNOR, BUCKNELL Fr., M, Shippensburg, Pa. Sydnor continues her early run of success by winning the Patriot League Rookie of the Week honor for the third time in the first four weeks in 2012. She tallied a pair of goals to help the Bison to a 6-0 win over Towson on Saturday. It was her first-career multi-goal game, and the four points were a career high. Sydnor shares the team lead with four goals and ranks third on the Bison with eight points this season.
HONORABLE MENTION TAYLER SIEGRIST, BUCKNELL Sr., D, Madison, N.J. Siegrist had two goals and two assists for a career-high six points in a 6-0 blanking of Towson on Saturday, and added a goal in a 3-1 loss to Ohio State on Sunday.
SHELLY MONTGOMERY, AMERICANJr., M, Fairfax, Va. Montgomery had a goal and an assist in a 3-2 loss to No. 19 Michigan State on Friday and followed it up with a goal in a 2-1 win over Central Michigan on Sunday as American split its contests at the MSU Invitational.
HALLE BIGGAR, COLGATEJr., F, Pepper Pike, Ohio Biggar had three goals in two games for the Raiders last week, tallying the team's only markers in a 4-1 loss to St. Francis (Pa.) on Saturday and a 3-2 double overtime defeat versus Lock Haven on Sunday.
CARLY GRIMAUDO, HOLY CROSSJr., F, Hopewell Junction, N.Y. Grimaudo tallied both Holy Cross goals in a 3-2 loss to Providence on Tuesday.