Nov. 4, 2011
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – Colgate and Lehigh each picked up sweeps Friday night and wrapped up the final two bids to the 2011 Patriot League Volleyball Tournament, which is set for Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 19-20, and will be hosted by the No. 1 seed.
The Raiders and Mountain Hawks will join American and Army, which both punched their tickets to the League Tournament last week.
American is in the League Tournament for the 11th straight season, having qualified for the four-team field each year since joining the League in 2001. The Eagles have won nine of the last 10 titles and recaptured the trophy last season after Army won the championship in 2009. American posted a 3-0 victory against Holy Cross at Bender Arena Friday night to improve to 10-1 against League teams and remain in a first-place tie with Army.
Army owns the League’s longest active streak of League Tournament appearances and has qualified for the playoff for the 13th straight season. The Black Knights swept Navy 3-0 in Annapolis, Md., Friday night to improve to 10-1 in League play and stay in a tie for first with American. The last time Army did not qualify for the four-team playoff was 1998.
American will host Army Saturday at 4 p.m. at Bender Arena in Washington, D.C., in a showdown that could have a significant impact on who hosts the League Tournament in two weeks. The Eagles rallied from a 2-1 deficit to take a 3-2 victory at West Point earlier in the season. Another win for American would give it a one-match lead over Army in the standings plus the head-to-head tiebreaker with two contests to go. An Army win would split the season series between the two, while a victory in three or four sets would give the Black Knights the edge in the tiebreaker. Patriot League tiebreaker rules in volleyball include both matches and sets won between opponents.
Colgate, which has made four consecutive League title matches, officially clinched its 16th overall appearance in the playoff with Friday’s 3-0 win at Lafayette. The Raiders are tied for third in the standings with Lehigh at 8-3, which also posted a 3-0 victory Friday night.
The Mountain Hawks defeated Bucknell 3-0 in Bethlehem, Pa., Friday evening to punch their first League Tournament ticket since 2009. Lehigh is in the postseason under first-year head coach Bob Bertucci. The 2011 tournament will be the Mountain Hawks’ 16th.
Lehigh hosts Colgate Saturday at 4 p.m. in another match that could be critical for seeding. The Raiders swept Lehigh in Hamilton, N.Y., earlier this season. The winner of Saturday’s contest will take a one-match lead over the other with two remaining.