Patriot League Volleyball Release - 11.12.07

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Lafayette's Katrina Racibarskas
Lafayette's Katrina Racibarskas

Nov. 12, 2007

The final round of volleyball weekly awards went to American's Rubena Sukaj as the Patriot League/Baden Player of the Week and Lafayette's Katrina Racibarskas as the Patriot League/Baden Rookie of the Week. Both were five-time honorees this season.

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Baden Player of the Week
Rubena Sukaj, American Jr., OH, Tirana, Albania

Sukaj averaged 6.00 kills per game and hit .405 in a 3-0 week for the Eagles. American's win on Friday over Lehigh gave the Eagles the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament and hosting rights. The Albania native totaled 10 blocks over nine games, including two solo, and added 21 digs. The 6-1 outside hitter has taken home five Patriot League Player of the Week awards this year and two in a row.

Baden Rookie of the Week
Katrina Racibarskas, Lafayette Fr., OH, Chatham, N.J.

Racibarskas totaled 24 kills, 16 blocks and six aces over three matches last week for the Leopards. She reached a career high in blocks against both East Stroudsburg and Navy with seven. Against ESU she posted seven block assists and versus the Mids she had four solo blocks and three assisted. The freshman outside hitter has been named Patriot League Rookie of the Week five times this season.

Honorable Mention

Elizabeth Lazzari, Army Jr., OH, Seal Beach, Calif. Notched back-to-back double-doubles. Hit .350 over two matches.

Michaela Donohue, Lafayette Sr., OH, Los Gatos, Calif. Became the Patriot League's all-time digs leader with 42 last week. Ended her career with 1,610 career digs.

Rachel Dougherty, Navy Sr., OH, Derwood, Md. Totaled 30 kills in a 3-2 win over UMBC...Averaged 5.30 kills per game over three matches and recorded six aces and six blocks.

Patriot League Notebook

American Hosts 2007 Tourney
American will serve as the top seed and host of the 2007 Patriot League Volleyball Championship at Bender Arena in Washington, D.C. Semifinal matches will take place on Friday, Nov. 16. The American-Navy match will take place at 6 p.m., followed by the Army-Colgate match at 8 p.m. The Patriot League Tournament Championship Game will be played on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. No. 2 Army, No. 3 Colgate and No. 4 Navy round out the tournament field.

American has been the No. 1 seed and tournament host each year since it joined the Patriot League in 2001. The Eagles will be in search of their seventh-straight Patriot League Tournament title and NCAA bid.

Patriot League Tournament Semifinal Matchups

No. 1 American (24-7, 13-1 PL) vs. No. 4 Navy (21-11, 8-6 PL)

American Notes The Eagles have won six-straight Patriot League Tournament titles (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006). The team has complied a 96-2 record versus Patriot League opponents in the regular season.

Navy Notes Navy is making its sixth Patriot League Tournament appearance since the League trimmed down from a full-field event to a field-of-four competition in 1996. The Mids missed last year's tourney but made back-to-back appearances in 2004 and 2005. Navy is the only team in this year's competition yet to be crowned Patriot League Tournament Champion.

Head-To-Head American won both contests versus Navy this year. In Annapolis, Md., the Mids forced the Eagles to five games. The Eagles and Mids have only met once in the Patriot League Tournament, doing so in the semifinal round in 2004. The Eagles won that match 3-0.

No. 2 Army (24-4, 12-2 PL) vs. No. 3 Colgate (16-12, 11-3 PL)

Army Notes Army will be competing in its ninth-straight tournament. The Black Knights have claimed three Patriot League Tournament titles (1991, 1992, 1994). The Cadet were the tournament runner-up in 2004 and 2005.

Colgate Notes Colgate qualified for the Patriot League tourney for the first time since 2000. The Raiders have won four Patriot League Tournament titles (1990, 1995, 1996, 1999).

Head-To-Head Army and Colgate split their season series. Colgate took a 3-1 match from Army in their first meeting in Hamilton, N.Y. On the last day of the regular season, Army came out on top 3-0 at West Point. In Patriot League Tournament action, the two teams are tied at 3-3. Army earned wins over Colgate in 1991, 1992 and 1994. The Black Knights' victories in 1991 and 1992 were in the championship title match. Colgate posted wins over Army in 1990, in the title match, and in 1999 and 2000 in semifinal action.

Tournament All-Access Coverage
The 2007 Patriot League Volleyball Tournament will be streamed live through the Patriot League's All-Access package. For live coverage visit the Patriot League website and click on the All-Access logo on the front page. Joe Green and Sam Danai will provide the audio for the web cast.

Lafayette's Donohue Breaks League Career Digs Record
On Friday, Lafayette senior Michaela Donohue broke the Patriot League's career digs mark with 21 against Navy. Donohue closed out her career with 1,610 career digs. Colgate junior Jackie Adlam will have at least one more match to up her career total of 1,566 digs in the semifinal round of the Patriot League Tournament. Adlam is currently ranked third all-time in Patriot League history. She would need 23 digs to take over second place on the list.

Honored For Work In The Classroom
Seven Patriot League student-athletes were named to the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 2007 Volleyball Teams. This year's honorees include American's Rubena Sukaj, Army's Lauren Teal and Rachael Breinling, Bucknell's Shannon Pitsch, Holy Cross' Christine Strawson and Katie Fitzpatrick and Navy's Rachel Dougherty.

2007 All-Patriot League And Major Awards
The 2007 All-Patriot League teams will be announced on Wednesday, Nov. 14. The 2007 Patriot League Major Award winners will be revealed Thursday, Nov. 15 in the evening at the Patriot League Tournament Banquet. The major awards include Player, Defensive Player, Setter, Rookie and Coach of the Year.

"We are very happy with being able to secure a spot in the playoffs, as well as come away with a very hard-fought victory. It was a typical Patriot League defensive match. Each game was close throughout and all could have easily gone the other way." Navy Head Coach Mike Schwob after clinching a Patriot League Tournament berth after a 3-1 win at Lafayette on Friday

"It is nice to see our team playing well as we head down the stretch. I'm looking forward to a competitive weekend as we bring the Patriot League Tournament to American." American Head Coach Barry Goldberg after securing the top seed and hosting rights for the 2007 Patriot League Tournament on Friday

Team Notebooks

American American clinched the top seed in the Patriot League Tournament and hosting rights on Friday with a 3-0 win against Lehigh. The Eagles also defeated Lafayette and VCU by scores of 3-0 last week. Junior Rubena Sukaj hit .405 over three matches with 54 kills, 21 digs and 10 blocks. Sukaj's six blocks versus VCU tied her career high. American will face No. 4 Navy in the semifinals of the Patriot League Tournament on Friday. The Eagles have been the top seed each year since joining the Patriot League in 2001.

Army Army captured the No. 2 seed in the Patriot League Tournament on Sunday with a 3-0 win over Colgate. Army and Colgate, the third seed, will meet again on Friday in the semifinal round. The Black Knights earned a 3-0 win over Bucknell on Saturday. Army's four losses thus far are the fewest in program history. Against Bucknell, junior Elizabeth Lazzari posted a double-double with 13 kills and 11 digs. Lazzari recorded another with 12 kills and 13 digs versus Colgate. The Black Knights celebrated Senior Day on Sunday, honoring the career of co-captain Lauren Teal who had seven kills and five blocks in her final game at Gillis Field House.

Bucknell Senior Jenna Henderson broke the Bison single-season kills record, finishing the year with 432. Henderson also reached the 1,000 career-dig milestone, becoming the second player in Bison history with 1,000+ career kills and 1,000+ digs. Bucknell went 1-1 last week with a loss to Army, 3-0, on Saturday and a 3-0 win at Holy Cross on Sunday to close out the year.

Colgate Colgate split its matches last week with a 3-1 win over Holy Cross and a 3-0 loss at Army. The loss to Army forced Colgate into the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Patriot League Tournament. The Raiders will face the Black Knights on Friday in semifinal action. Freshman Casey Ritt led Colgate with a .429 hitting percentage versus the Crusaders and posted her 13th double-digit kill match of the season with 11. Ritt came up with six blocks over two matches last week.

Holy Cross Holy Cross dropped two matches to close out the 2007 season, falling to Colgate and Bucknell in Patriot League play. Freshman Chelsey O'Donnell posted 62 assists and 14 digs last week. Her 891 assists this year rank second all-time at Holy Cross for a single season, while her 9.48 assists per game are third.

Lafayette Senior Michaela Donohue became the Patriot League's all-time digs leader last week with 42 over three matches. Donohue ended her career with 1,610 career digs. Lafayette closed out the year with a 3-0 win over East Stroudsburg in non-League competition during the week and two Patriot League losses over the weekend to Navy and American. Freshman Katrina Racibarskas recorded seven blocks versus both East Stroudsburg and Navy for a season-high total.

Lehigh Lehigh dropped its final two matches of the season against American and Navy. Sophomore Brittany Thurston totaled 20 kills and 15 digs over two matches last week.

Navy Navy posted a perfect record last week with a win over UMBC in non-League action and victories over Lafayette and Lehigh in Patriot League play. The Mids will play as the No. 4 seed in the Patriot League Tournament and will face No. 1 American on Friday in the semifinals. Senior Rachel Dougherty recorded a career-high 30 kills against UMBC. It was the first 30-kill match by a Mid in four years and only the fourth since records began in 1994 and is tied for the third-highest single-match tally at Navy during that time (record is 32). Her 22 kills against Lafayette was a career-high for a four-game match. Versus Lehigh, Dougherty finished one behind the Navy kill leaders with 11 and also led the Mids with four service aces.