Sept. 1, 2010
Center Valley, Pa. -- Both Lehigh and Holy Cross posted their best starts in several years in action that began last week. The Mountain Hawks finished 3-1 in the Courtyard by Marriott Invitational in Pittsburgh, rallying for three consecutive wins after an opening loss to Duquesne to craft their best start since 1995.
Patriot League Volleyball Release - 9.1.10
Meanwhile, the Crusaders posted a 2-2 mark over two days at the Beanpot Classic, including a 3-0 shutout of Boston College for their first win in that series in 16 games. It's the best start for Holy Cross volleyball since 2001.
Elsewhere, a record crowd came out Friday for American's match hosting George Mason in the fourth annual Bender Blue Out. The 2,055 people in attendance was the largest for a collegiate volleyball match in Washington, D.C., eclipsing the mark of 1,813 set last year at the same event.
Patriot League Women's Volleyball Weekly Awards
Player of the Week
MAGDALENA TEKIEL, AMERICAN Sr., OH, Warsaw, Poland
Tekiel played all nine sets as the Eagles went 2-1 and captured their third D.C. Volleyball Challenge in the last four years. In a pair of 3-0 defeats of George Mason and George Washington, she posted double-doubles in kills and digs, while she added nine kills and six digs in a 3-0 loss to Georgetown and was named Tournament MVP. For the weekend, she averaged 4.78 kills per set while notching a .411 hitting percentage. In addition to helping out defensively with 3.11 digs per set, she assisted on seven blocks for the tournament.
Rookie of the Week
COURTNEY McCUTCHAN, LEHIGH Fr., OH, La Canada, Calif.
McCutchan logged two double-doubles in the opening week of her collegiate career to help the Mountain Hawks start the season 3-1 at the Courtyard by Marriott Invitational in Pittsburgh, Pa. In the last two matches of the tournament, she logged 13 kills and 11 digs in Lehigh's 3-1 victory over Robert Morris, then added 11 kills and 12 digs in a 3-2 defeat of Radford. She also tallied eight kills and 16 digs in Lehigh's 3-1 victory over St. Francis (Pa.). At 3-1, the Mountain Hawks are out to their best start since 1995.
D.J. PHEE, ARMY Fr., OH, Allen, Texas
Phee posted a double-double in kills and digs in her collegiate debut while collecting 26 total kills and 40 total digs as Army went 2-2 over the weekend. Her 11 kills against Fairleigh Dickinson were a match-best for the Black Knights.
CHELSEY O'DONNELL, HOLY CROSS Sr., S, Pittsburgh, Pa.
O'Donnell totaled 125 assists and averaged nearly nine per set as the Crusaders began their season 2-2, their best start since 2001. She averaged 12 assists per set against Boston College, leading Holy Cross to a 3-0 victory, their first in the series against the Eagles in the last 16 meetings in the series.
KAYLEE FIFER, COLGATE Fr., S, Lantana, Texas
Fifer posted 53 total assists and a 5.30 assists-per-set average in the first three matches of her collegiate career, helping Colgate go 2-1 at the Colgate Classic in Hamilton. The freshman setter also netted nine kills, nine digs and two aces during the weekend.
Patriot League Notebook
ARMY SELECTED TO REPEAT BY NARROW MARGIN
After capturing its third overall League title and making its first trip to the NCAA Tournament last year, Army was selected to repeat as Patriot League volleyball champions in 2010, it was determined in a vote by the League's head coaches and sports information directors who could not vote for their own teams. The Black Knights captured 92 points and nine first-place votes to narrowly claim the poll's top spot. American, winners of eight consecutive Patriot League titles from 2001-08, finished second in the poll with 90 points and the seven remaining first-place votes. Colgate captured third with 74 points, followed by Lehigh, which garnered 62 points. Bucknell (49), Lafayette (29), Navy (28) and Holy Cross (24) rounded out the poll, which mirrored the final regular season standings from 2009.
A NEW DEFENDING CHAMPION
For the first time in eight years, the Patriot League has a different defending champion. Since entering the League in 2001, American had captured eight consecutive titles. The streak ended last year when Army defeated the Eagles 3-0 in the finals of the Patriot League Tournament at West Point, N.Y.
Two major award winners from 2009 will be back on the court for their clubs this season. Ariana Mankus, who pulled off the rare feat of being named both the Player and Rookie of the Year in the Patriot League will grace the court again for Army in 2010, as will last year's Defensive Player of the Year Emma Melendez of Lehigh. Army's Maureen Bannon, who was named Setter of the Year in `09, graduated with 4,101 career assists, good enough for third all-time in League history.
CICALA LENDS A HELPING HAND
American sophomore Krysta Cicala had a strong freshman campaign where she led the Patriot League with 1,145 total assists and 10.41 assists per set, firmly etching her name as one of the League's leading up-and-coming setters. The League has featured several talented student-athletes at that position, especially in recent history. In addition to Maureen Bannon's 4,101 career assists from 2006-09, Colgate's Meghan Fanta finished her four-year career with 3,945 during the same span, which is sixth all-time. Additionally, American's Christina Nash (3,949 - fifth all-time), Lafayette's Megan Carter (3,599 - ninth) and Bucknell's Shannon Pitsch (3,597 - 10th) all finished in the League's all-time top 10 in assists while playing from 2005-08.
Twelve of the 14 student-athletes who earned All-Patriot League honors last season were underclassmen. Only Maureen Bannon of Army and American's Claire Recht were seniors honored with All-League laurels, with both making the First Team. Of the remaining 12, Army (Ariana Mankus, Amanda Rowell and Francine Vasquez) and Colgate (Kaylee Dougherty, Casey Ritt and Kaleigh Durket) return three, American (Magdalena Tekiel and Angelina Waterman) and Lehigh (Emma Melendez and Angelika Kopacz) bring back two while Bucknell (Heidi Kamp) and Holy Cross (Megan Lynch) each return one.
LYNCH PROVIDES SPARK IN WORCESTER
If Holy Cross is to continue on the upswing under third-year head coach Marritt Cafarchia, sophomore Megan Lynch will be a big part of it. Last season, she became the first Crusader freshman to earn All-Patriot League accolades when she was named to the Second Team. She finished second in the League behind Army's Ariana Mankus with 371 kills and 3.53 kills per set.
LET'S GET DEFENSIVE
One major reason for Colgate's 11-3 mark in League play in 2009 was defense. Casey Ritt finished third in the League with 104 total blocks and second with 0.99 blocks per set en route to First-Team All-Patriot League laurels, while Devon Applegate's 426 total digs and 3.98 digs per set were second on the League list. Both student-athletes return for their senior seasons in 2010 for head coach Ryan Baker.
AMERICAN The Eagles posted a 2-1 record at the D.C. Volleyball Challenge to win the event for the third time in the last four years. Magdalena Tekiel was named the Tournament MVP, and her efforts also landed her the Patriot League's Player of the Week Award. As a team, the Eagles lead the League in the early going with a .279 hitting percentage. American hosts Coppin State Wednesday before playing three games in Williamsburg, Va. over the weekend.
ARMY The Black Knights got out to a fast start at their Army Invitiational with wins Friday over New Hampshire and Fairleigh Dickinson. On Saturday, Army was upended by Iona (3-1) and St. John's (3-2). Amanda Rowell was strong defensively, picking up 15 blocks over the weekend and leading the club in the category in three of the four matches. The Black Knights have three matches scheduled this weekend at the Patriot Invitational hosted by George Mason.
BUCKNELL The Bison headed west to take on difficult competition in the Trojan Invitational, hosted by No. 10 Southern California. Senior Heidi Kamp was named to the All-Tournament team with 12 kills and five blocks over the three matches, while accumulating a .081 hitting percentage. Her 212 block assists are fifth all-time in Bison history. Bucknell hosts its own invitational this weekend with Eastern Michigan, Iona and Providence coming to Lewisburg.
COLGATE Maureen Colligan tallied 38 kills on a .216 hitting percentage and freshman Kaylee Fifer logged 53 assists in her collegiate debut in a 2-1 weekend for the Raiders at the Colgate Classic. Colligan earned All-Tournament team laurels for her performance, as she averaged 2.92 kills per set. Colgate has three matches this weekend at the Penn State Invitational, with a bout against the top-ranked Nittany Lions on Saturday.
HOLY CROSS Chelsey O'Donnell recorded the 20th double-double of her career with 40 assists and 14 digs in the Crusaders' 3-2 loss to Northeastern in the Beanpot Classic. She earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team with 125 assists during the four matches, averaging nearly nine per set. Earlier in the tournament, Holy Cross defeated Boston College for the first time in the last 16 meetings in the series. The Crusaders participate in the Marist Tournament this weekend.
LAFAYETTE The Leopards opened the season Monday with a 3-1 loss at home to St. Francis (N.Y.), although it was a close match from beginning to end with each set determined by a combined 12 points. The first set provided excitement as the Leopards rallied with five straight points to go up 1-0 in the match before the Terriers captured the next three. Kayly Elmer notched a double-double with 19 kills and 14 digs. After a Wednesday cost at Howard, the Leopards welcome New Jersey foes Princeton, Fairleigh Dickinson and St. Peter's for the Lafayette College Tournament this weekend.
LEHIGH The Mountain Hawks are out to their best start since 1995 after posting a 3-1 record at the Courtyard by Marriott Invitational. Junior Angelika Kopacz notched three double-doubles in kills and digs, all in Lehigh wins, to earn a spot on the All-Tournament team. League Rookie of the Week Courtney McCutchan made an impact in her debut with two double-doubles and a 16-dig performance in a 3-1 win over St. Francis (Pa.). Lehigh has the Sacred Heart Invitational this weekend.
NAVY Junior Maida Kalic' was a bright spot for the Midshipmen in a 1-3 weekend at the Norfolk State Spartan Classic, earning All-Tournament team accolades with 34 total kills and a .282 hitting percentage. She also added five aces during the tournament, with four coming against UNC Greensboro. Her best performance was a 13-kill, 7-dig, 4-block effort in a 3-1 win over Providence. In that match, freshman Erin Fortner posted the first Navy triple-double in five years with 11 kills, 16 assists and 15 digs. The Mids are back on the road for the Buffalo Tournament this weekend.