Sept. 24, 2013
Patriot League Volleyball Release - 9.24.13 (PDF)
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. -- The first Patriot League contests are in the books for six teams, and Army and Navy sit at the top of the standings after the first weekend of the unbalanced schedule. American, Loyola Maryland and Colgate jump into the League fray this week, with the first two on the road and the Raiders at home. In addition, two non-League contests dot Wednesday's schedule, with Holy Cross home for Central Connecticut on Patriot League Network and American hosting UMBC.
PATRIOT LEAGUE QUICK HITS
American's 10-0 season-starting run was halted Friday in a four-set loss at UC Irvine. Colgate's 12-0 start in 1991 remains the best in League history.
Army senior MB Megan Wilton saw action in her first full matches of the season over the weekend, and hit .333 while averaging 3.38 kills in wins over Lehigh and Bucknell.
Lehigh extended its win streaks against Holy Cross and Lafayette to 11 and eight straight, respectively, last week.
Four of the eight League matches this weekend will air on Patriot League Network. In addition, Holy Cross hosts non-League foe Central Connecticut on PLN on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
American opens League play Friday at Lafayette, while Colgate's first League match is home for Army on PLN and Loyola Maryland visits Lehigh in its opener. All three are scheduled for 7 p.m.
Colgate's 3-2 win over North Carolina State on Saturday was the Raiders' third all-time against an ACC opponent. They logged wins over Wake Forest in 1982 and 1986.
The Raiders are 7-5 entering League play this season, a year after beginning the 2012 campaign 2-11.
Colgate junior MB Diane Seely hit .261 and averaged 2.77 kills during the Raiders' three matches at the Midtown Invitational.
Navy senior Opp. Erin Fortner set a three-set career high with 19 kills in Saturday's straight-sets win over Lafayette. It also broke the Wesley A. Brown field House record for kills in a three-set match.
Holy Cross' 6-6 record is its best start through 12 matches since going 9-3 to begin the 2001 campaign.
Crusader sophomore OH/RS Emily Oliver led the Crusaders in kills against both Bucknell and Lehigh.
Loyola Maryland's Faye Lukas and Simone Reid were both named to the All-Tournament Team at Arizona's Wildcat Classic. Lukas hit .230 with 4.5 kills per set, while Reid hit .400 in a three-set victory over Wofford.
Loyola siblings Faye (a senior) and Jane (a freshman) Lukas combined for 50 kills at the Wildcat Classic.
Lehigh's 10-4 start is its best since 1986.
Lehigh sophomore S Amy Matula notched a career-high 51 assists in Wednesday's four-set win over Lafayette, then matched it in Friday's five-set loss at Army.
Patriot League teams have combined for a 36-13 (.735) record against squads from the America East, Atlantic 10, MAAC, Ivy League and NEC.
Patriot League Notebook
LOYOLA UPS NUMBER TO NINE
Before Loyola Maryland's official entry on July 1, it had been over a decade since the Patriot League had added a volleyball member. American had been the most recent addition in 2001, and since then the Eagles have captured 10 of 12 titles. The Greyhounds are looking for a similar string of success over the next dozen years. Third-year head coach Jake Lawrence guides a roster led by six seniors, and Loyola is hoping that leadership translates into a shot at contending for a League crown in its first season.
With 119 points and eight first-place votes, American was chosen as the preseason favorite in the Patriot League in voting conducted by its head coaches and sports information directors who could not cast a ballot for their own schools or student-athletes. The Eagles were a set away from claiming their 11th League championship in 12 seasons, but host Colgate rallied for a thrilling five-set victory to send American home disappointed. Army claimed the poll's second position with 112 points and five first-place votes, while the defending champion Raiders were third with 111 points and the last five first-place ballots. Lehigh (78 points), Navy (76), Loyola (52), Bucknell (50), Holy Cross (28) and Lafayette (22) rounded out the poll.
COLGATE TRIES FOR REPEAT
American's dominance since 2001 has made it difficult for other teams to win one League crown, let alone two. But that's exactly what Colgate will try to do after claiming its first Patriot League title since 1999. It was the fifth crown for the Raiders, who also captured the trophy in 1990, 1995 and 1996. In fact, Colgate joins American and Army as the only programs to win consecutive championships. Army did it in 1991-92, while American won eight straight from 2001-08 and two more in 2010-11.
HEAVY ON EXPERIENCE
Army senior OH Margaux Jarka was tabbed the preseason Player of the Year by the head coaches and sports information directors, and was one of two Black Knights to make the squad. Along with junior S Mary Vaccaro, the pair combines for a potent 1-2 combination that also features senior L D.J. Phee leading Army's defense. Seniors Kaylee Fifer (S) and Lindsay Young (OH) represent Colgate, while Lehigh placed seniors Rachel Charles (L) and Amanda Clark (MB). Navy senior OH Erin Fortner rounded out the seven-member preseason All-League team, of which Vaccaro is the only underclassman.
WATCH FREE ON THE PATRIOT LEAGUE NETWORK
2013-14 is the first of a multi-year agreement between the Patriot League and Campus Insiders who have teamed up to create the Patriot League Network, a streaming platform that will enable fans to watch League regular season and championship events for free. Currently more than 40 volleyball matches are tentatively scheduled to stream on the Network, both League and non-League, including the Patriot League Tournament.
INTRODUCING THE GREYHOUNDS
Jake Lawrence is in his third season as the head coach at Loyola Maryland, which comes to the Patriot League from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Greyhounds' first season was 1990, coincidentally the first season of Patriot League volleyball, and their first conference crown came in 1991. Loyola repeated in `92, but has been held without a trophy since. Key players include a pair of seniors in MB Jac Bullock and OH Faye Lukas. Bullock led the MAAC in hitting (.337) and earned second-team all-conference honors, while Lukas averaged 3.61 kills per set.
NCAA RECOGNIZES LEAGUE AGAIN
The Patriot League was once again a big winner when the NCAA announced its latest set of Academic Performance Program Public Recognition Awards and Academic Progress Rate data in June. Volleyball teams from Bucknell, Lafayette and Lehigh were three of the 71 total League teams cited for finishing in the top 10 percent of their sport in the most recent multi-year APR data, while six of eight schools from before the July 1 expansion boasted an APR of 985 or better. League newcomer Loyola fits right in with an APR of 986 for the 2011-12 academic year.
Patriot League Weekly Awards (9.16-9.22)
MOLTEN PLAYER OF THE WEEK
JULIE CRUM, AMERICAN Sr., OH, Hacienda Heights, Calif.
Crum registered four consecutive double-doubles during the Eagles' 3-1 swing through California last weekend. She logged 12 kills and 16 doubles while hitting .323 in American's first loss of the season, a 3-1 setback at UC Irvine. The Eagles rallied to a pair of five-set wins to finish out their participation in the UC Irvine Invite, with Crum scoring 20 kills and 14 digs against Fresno State, and 12 kills and 20 digs in the win over Xavier. The senior finished the week with 15 kills and 17 digs as the Eagles pulled out another five-set thriller, beating Cal State Fullerton 3-2 on Sunday. For the week, Crum averaged 3.11 kills and 3.53 digs per set while hitting .260. She also totaled six blocks.
MOLTEN ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
OLIVIA FAIRFIELD, ARMY Fr., OH, Iowa City, Iowa
Fairfield picks up her first Rookie of the Week nod after hitting .264 and averaging 2.25 kills per set in a pair of Army League victories over the weekend. She struck 10 kills in 32 swings with two errors to hit .250 with a pair of digs and two blocks in the Black Knights' 3-2 victory over Lehigh on Friday, and added eight kills on 21 tries to hit .286 in a straight-sets win over Bucknell to start 2-0 in League play.
MEGAN WILTON, ARMY Sr., MB, Roseville, Calif.
Hit .333 and averaged 3.38 kills per set in a pair of Army League wins. Reached double digits in kills in both matches, including a 17-kill performance in Friday's five-set win over Lehigh.
KATHLEEN HARRIS, COLGATE Fr., OH, Playa del Rey, Calif.
Continued her strong rookie campaign averaging 2.30 kills and 3.15 digs for the Raiders. Had two double-doubles, including an 11-kill, 20-dig performance in Colgate's stunning 3-2 win over host North Carolina State at the Midtown Invitational.
KATIE McKERNAN, HOLY CROSS Fr., S/RS, Sylvania, Ohio
Led Crusaders during 2-1 week averaging 7.56 assists and 2.56 digs. Also logged six aces.
AMY MATULA, LEHIGH So., S, Memphis, Tenn.
Averaged 11.73 assists across 11 sets during Lehigh's 2-1 start to League play. Logged 51 assists in a four-set win over Lafayette and five-set loss at Army.
FAYE LUKAS, LOYOLA MARYLAND Sr., OH, Stockertown, Pa.
Hit .230 while averaging 4.50 kills and 1.67 digs in two matches at Arizona's Wildcat Invitational.
ERIN FORTNER, NAVY Sr., Opp., Villa Hills, Ky.
Had a stellar showing hitting .471 with 19 kills and seven digs as the Mids opened League play with a straight-set win over Lafayette on Saturday.
ALLI GRAF, NAVY Fr., L, Annapolis, Md.
The local product tied a season best and came up one shy of the Navy record in a three-set match with 23 digs in the Mids' 3-0 win over Lafayette.