Oct. 29, 2013
Patriot League Volleyball Release - 10.29.13 (PDF)
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. -- Colgate and American remain tied in the loss column atop the standings as the Patriot League schedule starts down the home stretch. Army is one loss behind after dropping a five-set thriller at Lehigh on Saturday, but that doesn't take any luster off this Saturday's marquee matchup at West Point between the Black Knights and Raiders, set for 4 p.m. at Gillis Field House.
PATRIOT LEAGUE QUICK HITS
Navy looks to pick up ground on fourth-place Lehigh when it hosts Loyola Maryland Tuesday at 7 p.m. and welcomes the Mountain Hawks to Annapolis, Md., on Friday at 7 p.m. Both matches will air on Patriot League Network.
Depending on how the week plays out, all four Patriot League Tournament bids could be clinched by the end of Sunday, or potentially none will have been wrapped up by then.
No team can clinch a tournament berth outright with just victories this week. It will depend also on other League results.
Lehigh has just one home match remaining on Nov. 8 versus Bucknell. Four of its last five will be on the road.
Bucknell's Karen Campbell hit .409 in Friday's five-set loss to Army and struck .357 against Holy Cross on Saturday in a 3-1 win.
Fellow Bison Erika Eastley had 10 kills on 14 swings with only one error (.643) in the victory over the Crusaders. She also logged a match-high six blocks.
Lehigh's win on Saturday was its first over Army since Nov. 8, 2003. The Black Knights had won 21 straight meetings.
Colgate is riding a six-match win streak, with the last victories all coming in straight sets.
The top five teams in the League standings are all over .500 in League matches on the road.
American finishes the regular season with six of its last eight matches at home.
With double-doubles in both matches last week, Navy senior Erin Fortner now has five on the season.
Colgate senior libero Caitlin Cremin joined fellow seniors D.J. Phee of Army and Rachel Charles of Lehigh in the League's all-time top 10 in digs last week. Phee is second (1,710), while Charles is up to fourth (1,599) and Cremin eighth (1,468).
Lehigh remains tops in the country averaging 1.95 aces per set. The Mountain Hawks are one of five League squads in the NCAA's top 50 in the category.
Lehigh's Rachel Charles is 15th in Division I in aces per set (0.48), while Caitlin Cremin of Colgate is 17th (0.46).
American is 11th in the nation in team hitting (.282) and 34th in kills per set (13.93).
Patriot League Notebook
KNOW YOUR TIEBREAKERS
As the League season continues on, tiebreakers will become an essential tool for seeding teams for the upcoming Patriot League Tournament, set for Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 23-24 on the campus of the No. 1 seed. Head-to-head match results are the primary tiebreaker, with individual sets won in those contests also used to separate teams. In the event of a multi-way tie, match results (and sets won) against all other teams in the tie are utilized. If a tie remains in both two-way or multi-way after the head-to-head process is performed, then records against the rest of the League are compared beginning at the top of the standings and moving down.
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 (10.21-10.27)
MOLTEN PLAYER OF THE WEEK
AMY MATULA, LEHIGH So., S, Memphis, Tenn.
Matula was instrumental for the Mountain Hawks in two Patriot League victories, including a huge performance in Saturday's five-set win at home over Army. The sophomore spurred the Lehigh offense with a career-high 54 assists in the victory, her team's first over the Black Knights since Nov. 8, 2003. When Army's defense adjusted to Lehigh's hitters, Matula became active in the striking game with 10 kills on 16 swings and no errors. She also contributed nine digs in the match, narrowly missing out on a triple-double. Matula was also a key player for Lehigh in Friday's straight-sets win over Holy Cross with 26 assists. She averaged 10 assists per frame last week while also contributing 12 kills on 20 attempts with no errors to hit .600.
MOLTEN ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
OLIVIA FAIRFIELD, ARMY Fr., MB, Iowa City, Iowa
Fairfield collects her fourth straight Rookie of the Week nod after averaging 2.00 kills and hitting .220 during a 1-1 League weekend for the Black Knights. She notched 12 kills on 25 swings and only four miscues (.320) with six block assists in Friday's key 3-2 win at Bucknell. On Saturday she notched another eight kills on 25 tries with three digs and two blocks (one solo) in the 3-2 loss at Lehigh. Fairfield, who now has five rookie awards on the season, is one shy of tying American's Rebecca Heath, who captured a League-record five consecutive citations in 2008.
ALLISON CAPPELLINO, AMERICAN So., OH/L, Penfield, N.Y.
Finished one dig shy of a double-double and added 10 kills on 16 tries with no errors (.625) as American swept Loyola Maryland on Friday.
NICOLE PERRI, ARMY So., OH, Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.
Logged season bests of 23 kills and a .367 hitting percentage in Saturday's 3-2 loss at Lehigh. Finished the week averaging 3.80 kills and 0.90 blocks per set while striking .309.
KAREN CAMPBELL, BUCKNELL So., MB, Chesapeake, Va.
Hit .364 for the Bison while averaging 1.92 kills and 1.00 blocks per set. Tallied eight kills and hit .357 in Saturday's four-set victory over Holy Cross.
DIANE SEELY, COLGATE Jr., MB, Menlo Park, Calif.
Had an incredible offensive week hitting .571 (17-1-28) with eight blocks (two solo) in a pair of League sweeps over Bucknell and Lafayette. Averaged 2.83 kills per frame over six sets.
ERIN FORTNER, NAVY Sr., Opp., Villa Hills, Ky.
Posted back-to-back double-doubles last week, with 18 kills and 11 digs against Towson and 14 strikes and 12 digs in a four-set victory over League foe Lafayette. Finished the week averaging 4.57 kills and 3.29 digs while hitting .235.