Center Valley, Pa. -- After winning at least a share of the Patriot League title for the ninth consecutive season, American prepares to host the Patriot League Field Hockey Tournament for the seventh straight year on Friday and Saturday at Jacobs Field.
The Eagles earned the right to host by scoring a pair of late goals to defeat Lafayette 3-1 in the regular-season finale on Sunday. The victory gave the Eagles a share of the regular-season title with the Leopards and made American the No. 1 seed in the League Tournament.
As their reward, American will have to match up with the one team that defeated it in League play when it takes on No. 4 Bucknell in Friday's first semifinal at 11 a.m. The Bison made the postseason in dramatic fashion when Mallory Smith scored in double overtime for a 1-0 win at Colgate on Saturday with the final berth in the field on the line. Bucknell knocked off the Eagles 3-1 in Lewisburg on Oct. 22.
In the other semifinal, No. 2 seed Lafaeytte will face off with rival No. 3 seed Lehigh. The Mountain Hawks defeated Holy Cross 3-1 on Saturday to finish with a winning record in Patriot League action for the first time since 2007. Lafayette shut out Lehigh 4-0 when the teams met on Oct. 22.
The winners will square off for the Patriot League Championship on Saturday at 1 p.m. American is trying to win its ninth consecutive title, while Lafayette goes for its eighth League crown. Lehigh won the first Patriot League Tournament in 1994, while Bucknell has never won the title. The Patriot League champion will visit the winner of the Mid-American Conference in an NCAA Play-In game on Nov. 8.
The Patriot League Field Hockey Tournament can be seen on Patriot League All-Access for a small fee.
Patriot League Tournament Notebook
American, Bucknell Earn Key Wins on Final Regular-Season Weekend
American will host the 2011 Patriot League Field Hockey Tournament, as the Eagles came away with a 3-1 win at Lafayette on Sunday to tie the Leopards for the regular-season crown and earn the right to host the postseason event. American earns the No. 1 seed in the tournament for the ninth straight season, and will host the tournament for the seventh year in a row. American is trying to win a ninth-consecutive Patriot League title. With its first League loss of the season, Lafayette finishes tied with American at 4-1 in the Patriot League and claims the No. 2 seed. Lehigh will play as the No. 3 seed in the field and Bucknell as the No. 4 after the teams both finished at 3-2 in Patriot League action. The Bison earned their spot in the field in dramatic fashion with a 1-0 overtime win at Colgate on Saturday with both teams playing for the last tournament berth.
All-Access Coverage for Patriot League Tournament
The 2011 Patriot League Field Hockey Tournament begins with the semifinals on Friday, with No. 1 American taking on No. 4 Bucknell at 11 a.m. and No. 2 Lafayette playing No. 3 Lehigh at 2 p.m. The winners meet for the Patriot League Championship on Saturday at 1 p.m. For fans who cannot make it out to American's Jacobs Field, the entire Patriot League Field Hockey Tournament will be available through the League's All-Access package for a small fee. For more information, visit the All-Access page at www.patriotleague.org and sign up to watch the field hockey tournament and the rest of the Patriot League postseason tourneys in the month of November!
Lafayette, American Split Regular-Season Title
American defeated Lafayette on Sunday to earn the top seed in the Patriot League Tournament, but the teams still ended up splitting the regular-season title. It was the ninth-consecutive regular-season crown for the Eagles, and just the second time in that span that they had to share the title after also doing so in 2009 with Bucknell. The Leopards earned a share of the crown for the first time since 2002, and claimed their League-best 10th regular-season title overall.
Eagles with Tough Road to Another Championship
American has dominated the Patriot League for the last decade, and was unstoppable in last year's League Tournament when it outscored Colgate and Lafayette by a combined 14-3 to score the most goals in Patriot League Tournament history. While history and the home field are on American's side once again in 2011, the path for the championship could be much more difficult. The Eagles have to start with a Bucknell team that beat them 3-1 on Oct. 22, and could follow it up against a Lafayette squad that has made two straight title matchups and defeated American in the 2009 regular season.
Familiar Trio in the Patriot League Tournament
For the fourth season in a row, American, Bucknell and Lafayette all made it to the Patriot League Tournament. The Eagles set a Patriot League record with their 11th consecutive appearance, making it each year they have played in the League. Lafayette extended its all-time record to 15 appearances and made it for the sixth straight season, while Bucknell comes in one behind the Leopards with 14 overall appearances and is in the field for the fourth year in a row and sixth time in the past seven seasons. Lehigh makes it to the Patriot League Tournament for the seventh time and second in the past three years. It is the first time in the past four seasons that Bucknell and Lafayette will not face off in the semifinal round with the Bison claiming the No. 4 seed and drawing No. 1 American. Lafayette is in the 2/3 game for the sixth year in a row.
Regular-Season Champions Headline Patriot League Awards
American and Lafayette combined to take four of the five major awards voted on by Patriot League head coaches this week. American senior defender Tatum Dyer was named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, while Head Coach Steve Jennings won his seventh consecutive and eighth overall Patriot League Coach of the Year award. For Lafayette, junior forward Deanna DiCroce won the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year award while freshman midfielder Brittany Blass was named Patriot League Rookie of the Year. The remaining major award went to Lehigh sophomore Sierra Segear, who became the first Mountain Hawk named Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year. The four teams that made it to the Patriot League Tournament landed 20 of the 24 spots on the All-Patriot League Team. American led all schools with six recipients, with three on both the first and second team. Lafayette had a League-high four players as first-team All-Patriot League picks with five selections overall, while Bucknell matched the Leopards with five All-Patriot League performers and placed three on the first team. Lehigh had four All-Patriot League selections with a pair on both the first and second team, while Colgate and Holy Cross each placed a player on both the first and second team. For more on the major award winners and the entire All-Patriot League Team, visit www.patriotleague.org or go to page four of the field hockey release.
Bucknell The Bison made it into their fourth consecutive Patriot League Tournament in dramatic fashion, with Mallory Smith scoring the game-winning goal in double overtime for a 1-0 triumph over Colgate on Saturday. Bucknell advances to the Patriot League Tournament for the 14th time overall, one behind Lafayette for the League record. The Bison have fallen to Lafayette in the semifinal round in each of the last two seasons. The last time Bucknell advanced to the League Championship, the Bison fell to American 5-2 in 2008. That was just the second time the teams met in the postseason, with American also defeating Bucknell in the semifinals in 2006. The Bison have made it to the Patriot League Championship four times (1995, 99, 2000, 08), but are still looking for their first League title. The Bison placed five players on the All-Patriot League Team Tuesday, with Marci Richard, Rachel Misko and Mallory Smith each making the first team. Richard and Smith also made the Academic All-Patriot League Team where they were joined
by teammate Tayler Siegrist. Bucknell has a 4-13 record all-time in the Patriot League Tournament.
American The Eagles try to continue their dominance of the Patriot League Tournament with a ninth consecutive League title. American is playing as the No. 1 seed for the ninth year in a row and hosting the event at Jacobs Field for the seventh straight year. American sealed those fates with a 3-1 win at Lafayette on Sunday. American Head Coach Steve Jennings was selected by his peers as the Patriot League Coach of the Year for the seventh consecutive season and eighth time overall, while senior defender Tatum Dyer earned the school's eighth Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year award and the sixth in the past seven seasons. Dyer also became one of only nine four-time All-Patriot League selections as she was one of three Eagles named to the first team. American also had three second-team players to record a League-high six All-Patriot League picks overall. The Eagles have a 16-2 all-time record in the Patriot League Tournament, with 16 consecutive wins while claiming the eight straight titles.
Lehigh The Mountain Hawks completed a strong first season under Head Coach Stacey Blue with a 3-1 win over Holy Cross on Saturday. Lehigh finished at 3-2 in the Patriot League, its first winning mark in League action since 2007. Sophomore goalkeeper Sierra Segear was largely responsible for wins over Colgate and Bucknell, and on Tuesday was rewarded as the Patriot League Goalkeeper of
the Year. Segear was one of four Mountain Hawks to make the All-Patriot League Team, with a pair of players on both the first and second team. Senior Abby Tilton won the Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year award. Lehigh has a 3-5 record in the Patriot League Tournament, and goes in search of its first League crown
since winning in the inaugural event in 1994. The Mountain Hawks have split two games in the tourney with Lafayette, beating the rival Leopards for the 1994 title and losing in the semifinals in 2007.
Lafayette The Leopards earned a piece of the regular-season title for the first time since 2002, but a 3-1 loss to American on Sunday kept Lafayette from being the top seed in the League Tournament and having a chance to host the event. Still, the Leopards were recognized for their strong season on Tuesday when Deanna DiCroce was named Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year and Brittany Blass claimed the League's Rookie of the Year award. Lafayette also placed a League-high
four student-athletes on the first team with another making the second team. Lafayette has a 12-11 all-time record in the Patriot League Tournament, and has made it to the past two and three of the last four League title contests. The Leopards last won the Patriot League title in 2002, their third tournament crown and seventh overall Patriot League championship.