Patriot League Volleyball Release - 10.11.11

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Army's Mary Vaccaro was named Molten Rookie of the Week for the fifth time Monday.
Army's Mary Vaccaro was named Molten Rookie of the Week for the fifth time Monday.

Oct. 11, 2011

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — It was a lighter than normal week in Patriot League Volleyball with most teams playing just one match during the period. As a result, there wasn’t much that changed in either the League standings or in the season’s overarching storylines to this point. The picture for the League Tournament should start clarifying itself over the next few weeks, as teams continue to fight for position with the League schedule hitting the halfway point after Saturday’s matches.

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American remains the League’s hottest team, having won seven straight matches and running it’s record on opponents’ floors to 7-1 after a 3-0 win at Navy Thursday night. Senior Rebecca Heath garnered the Molten Player of the Week nod after hitting .476 with 11 kills and only one error in the bout. The Eagles are 5-0 in the League and sit one full game ahead of both Army and Colgate with a head-to-head win over each. There’s still nine League games remaining so a lot can change in the next month, but as it stands now the Eagles have a beat to host the Patriot League Tournament for the second straight year and 10th time overall.

Army, Colgate and Lehigh, the other three teams in the League’s top four, all kept pace with American. The Black Knights earned an overall split on the week with a 3-0 win at Holy Cross Saturday after dropping a three-set match to non-League opponent Sacred Heart earlier in the week. The Raiders split the first two frames with visiting Bucknell before winning the next two to take a 3-1 victory over the Bison in their only League tilt of the week. Colgate fell to Syracuse 3-0 on Wednesday, losing each set by a 26-24 score.

It should come as no surprise that perhaps the most entertaining match of the weekend was between two rivals. Lehigh jumped out to a two-set lead on Lafayette in the first meeting of the season between the two before the Leopards, who were on the road, stormed back to knot the match at 2-2. Lehigh eventually took the victory after winning the fifth frame, enabling the Mountain Hawks to stay two back of first-place American in the standings. Lafayette freshman Camissa Beghou continued her impressive play for the Leopards, posting career-highs of 19 kills and a .378 hitting percentage in the loss.

Colgate is the only team to have a non-conference game on the schedule this week. The Raiders will take the short trip to Ithaca, N.Y., to visit Ivy League rival Cornell Tuesday at 7 p.m.

League play returns this weekend with the traditional Friday-Saturday slate. American’s stretch of five straight away from home concludes when it visits Lafayette Friday at 7 p.m. and Lehigh Saturday at 4 p.m. Another team wrapping up the first leg of League play on the road is Army, which visits Bucknell Friday at 7 p.m. and has a critical showdown at Colgate Saturday at 4 p.m. Navy looks to snap its three-match slide when it visits Lehigh at 7 p.m. Friday and Lafayette Saturday at 2 p.m., while Holy Cross goes to Colgate Friday at 7 p.m. and Bucknell Saturday at 5 p.m.

Patriot League Weekly Awards

Heath was strong for the surging Eagles, who moved to 5-0 in League play and won their seventh straight in Thursday’s 3-0 victory at Navy. She tallied a team-high 11 kills on 21 swings with just one error to hit .476. She added seven digs in the contest for the Eagles, who maintained their position atop the League standings ahead of Army and Colgate, which are tied for second. Heath has double-digit kills in seven of her last eight matches with at least seven digs in six of those showings.

MARY VACCARO, ARMY Fr., S, Orinda, Calif.
Vaccaro captures her fifth Rookie of the Week nod this year after totaling 71 assists during a 1-1 week for the Black Knights. After entering the week ranked 11th in the country in assists per set, Vaccaro maintained her healthy stat line averaging 11.83 assists per frame while tallying 17 total digs in the two matches. She logged 39 helpers and narrowly missed a double-double with nine digs in the sweep at Holy Cross. She also added four kills in the match, one shy of her career high.

Lynch posted incredible numbers in a pair of matches last week. She averaged 6.50 kills and 3.38 digs per set as the Crusaders fell in a five-set marathon to Bryant and dropped a 3-0 decision to visiting Army.

Young averaged 4.29 kills per set and hit .348 during Colgate’s 1-1 week. She logged 16 kills against Syracuse and hit a career-high .429 in the four-set victory against Bucknell Saturday afternoon.

Beghou hit .378 with a career-best 19 kills in Lafayette’s five-set thriller against rival Lehigh.

McCaddin pitched in seven kills with a .417 hitting percentage and two aces in American’s sweep of Navy.

DIANE SEELY, COLGATE Fr., MB, Menlo Park, Calif.
Seely’s best showing of the week was an 11-kill performance while hitting .381 in Colgate’s 3-1 victory against visiting Bucknell on Saturday.

Patriot League Notebook

The halfway mark of the Patriot League Volleyball schedule is Saturday, with all eight teams fighting for those coveted top four slots in the standings and accompanying berths to the League Tournament. The schedule rolls over after Saturday, with the second series of showdowns beginning next Friday, Oct. 21. The Patriot League Tournament takes place Nov. 19-20 and is hosted by the highest seed.

Army freshman Mary Vaccaro nabbed her fifth Molten Patriot League Rookie of the Week award Monday, placing her one shy of the record of six held by current American senior Rebecca Heath. Heath set the mark in 2008. Heath and Vaccaro split Monday’s awards, with Heath being named Molten Player of the Week. The last player to threaten Heath’s record was Army’s Ariana Mankus, who was a five-time Rookie of the Week in 2009. The Rookie of the Week award was established in 2001.

American’s win streak reached seven overall and five in a row against League teams with Thursday’s win at Navy. Of those five straight wins against League foes, the last three have been on the road. The Eagles will look to continue that strong play away from home when they visit Lafayette and Lehigh this weekend. American is currently in a stretch of seven consecutive road matches against League teams. It will close the season with five in a row at home.

Bob Bertucci received his first taste of the Lehigh-Lafayette rivalry Friday when his Mountain Hawks held on for a five-set win over the visiting Leopards in Bethlehem, Pa. The two are scheduled to meet again Oct. 28 in Easton, Pa., in the second and final regular-season tilt between the two rivals. It was the second time this season Lafayette had erased a two-set deficit to force a decisive fifth game. The Leopards got back into the match on the strength of Sarah Frohnapfel’s sixth career double-double along with career-highs from Camissa Beghou (19 kills) and Kaitlynn Zoller (21 digs).

It’s becoming the same old story for Holy Cross, as junior outside hitter Megan Lynch continues her march through the school’s record book. After 52 kills and 27 digs last week, she stands second all-time in Holy Cross history with 1,100 kills and eighth with 835 career digs. She is one of only three Crusaders ever to reach 1,000 kills and 800 digs. Last week she averaged 6.50 kills and 3.38 digs per set in her team’s matches against Bryant and Army.

Mary Vaccaro remained near the top of the NCAA in assists per set this week, appearing at No. 12 averaging 11.60 assists per set as of Monday. Lehigh’s Rachel Charles leads the Patriot League and is seventh in the country averaging 0.55 service aces per frame, while Holy Cross’ Megan Lynch and Army’s Ariana Mankus are in top 100 in kills. Three teams rank in the NCAA’s top 10 across two categories, with Lehigh (fourth, 1.94) and Lafayette (eighth, 1.82) on the aces-per-set list and Army (sixth, 18.33) in the digs-per-set rankings.

In addition to following all the action in the Patriot League on its official website, fans can get caught up on stories, features and other useful information by finding the League on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The Patriot League’s YouTube channel features over 100 videos, half of which have been produced since the start of the 2011-12 academic year, highlighting many of the League’s fall sports and its student-athletes. Two of the most recent videos is a short feature on Holy Cross junior Megan Lynch and another addressing the special relationship between Army coach Alma Kovaci and Lehigh coach Bob Bertucci. Visit the Patriot League on YouTube at

The 2011 Patriot League Tournament is slated for Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 19-20, with the semifinals taking place Saturday and the championship Sunday. The winner earns an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. The Tournament is hosted by the No. 1 seed, which is the team that finishes with the best regular-season record against League competition. Being the top seed has its perks, as each of the last 11 tournament hosts have held serve to claim the League crown and advance to the NCAA Tournament. It also occurred in 1996 (Colgate) and 1998 (Bucknell). Bucknell hosted and won the League title in 2000 before American ran off eight straight titles from 2001-08 when it hosted the four-team playoff at Bender Arena.