Nov. 19, 2011
2011 Patriot League Volleyball Championship Central
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The top two seeds in the Patriot League Volleyball Tournament were victorious in their respective semifinal contests Saturday and have moved on to Sunday's championship contest. No. 1 American will take on second-seeded Army Sunday at 2 p.m. at Bender Arena with the League title and accompanying NCAA Tournament berth at stake.
The Eagles (22-10) advanced to Sunday's championship by virtue of a 3-1 victory over fourth-seeded Colgate (12-18) in the first of Saturday's two semifinal bouts. The second match saw second seed Army (23-7) sweep Lehigh (19-10) 3-0 for the right to move on to the title match.
Sunday's match will be the fifth meeting between American and Army in the finals of the League Tournament, with the Eagles owning a 3-1 advantage.
American has advanced to the championship match in all 11 appearances in the League Tournament and is shooting for its 10th crown. Army is in the title showdown for the first time since 2009, when it defeated the Eagles 3-0 at West Point to snap their run of nine consecutive championships.
American's wins over the Black Knights have come in the championship matches of the 2001, 2004 and 2005 tournaments.
The Eagles swept the regular-season series between the two teams, winning in five sets at West Point and taking a four-set victory in Washington earlier this month.
Recaps and links to the box scores to Saturday's matches are below.
No. 1 American 3, No. 4 Colgate 1
Senior Rebecca Heath logged 14 kills and sophomore Juliana Crum added 12 as top seed American advanced to Sunday's championship match of the Patriot League Tournament with a 3-1 (25-20, 22-25, 25-19, 25-17) victory over No. 4 Colgate Saturday at Bender Arena.
Both Heath and Crum logged double-doubles, as Crum collected a match-high 15 digs and Heath dug 12 in the victory.
The teams split the first two sets, with American taking the first frame 25-20 before the Raiders rebounded with a 25-22 win in the second. Colgate jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in set No. 3 and led 4-1 before the Eagles scored four of the next five points to knot the frame at 5-5. The squads went back and forth and were tied 10-10 before a Sara Rishell kill ignited an 11-6 run that gave American a 21-16 lead.
Colgate scored the next three points off a pair of Michelle McCarthy kills and another from Maureen Colligan to climb within 21-19, which forced the Eagles to call timeout. After the break, Crum recorded three kills and Rishell the other as American won the frame 25-19 to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Consecutive attack points from Heath helped lead American to a 5-2 lead early in the fourth frame, but the Raiders replied with a 7-1 run sparked by a pair of Caitlin Cremin service aces to go up 9-6.
American responded in kind with a 7-1 spurt of its own and went up 13-10 thanks to three consecutive blocks, with Rishell picking up two assists and one solo. Kaylee Dougherty's kill brought the Raiders within 13-11, but the Eagles scored the next four points to take a 17-11 advantage. Colgate was unable to get any closer than five points the rest of the way, with Kelly McCaddin's kill capping off a 25-17 win for American in the fourth set.
The Raider defense sparkled in the match, collecting 74 digs and holding the Eagles to a .187 attack percentage, well below their season average of .269. But Colgate itself only managed a .067 hitting percentage. Lindsay Young led the team with 10 kills, while Colligan added nine and hit .143 while Kaylee Fifer logged a double-double with 30 assists and 14 digs and pitched in seven kills and hit .400.
American hit .407 with 12 kills and just one error in the fourth and final set.
No. 2 Army 3, No. 3 Lehigh 0
Margaux Jarka and Megan Wilton posted 12 kills apiece and five Black Knights had at least 10 digs as Army swept Lehigh 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-19) in the second semifinal match of the Patriot League Tournament Saturday afternoon at Bender Arena. Army advances to Sunday's championship match and will square off with top-seeded American at 2 p.m.
Rachel Willis joined Jarka and Wilton in double figures in kills with 10, while Mary Vaccaro dished 38 assists and logged 13 digs. Vaccaro upped her season total to 1,258 assists, the most by a Patriot Leaguer since 1998 and placing her eighth on the League's single-season list.
The Black Knights hit .271 as a team, led by Willis, whose 10 kills came on 18 attempts and no errors for a .556 percentage. Jarka hit .426 with no errors while Wilton committed just two.
Both teams posted small runs in the early stages of the first frame, with neither taking a large lead in the opening minutes. Lehigh took an 11-10 lead after two straight kills from Courtney McCutchan, but the Black Knights netted seven of the next nine points to go up 17-13. After the teams traded service errors, Taylor Poole scored a kill off a Jessica Kudirka assist to bring the Mountain Hawks within three, but Army scored seven of the final 11 points to take the first frame 25-19.
Army opened up an 11-7 lead in the second set, but Lehigh climbed within 12-10 after an attack error. Kills from Wilton and Jarka nudged the Black Knights ahead 14-10, and attack points from Wilton, Ariana Mankus and Vaccaro helped Army get out to an 18-12 advantage. The teams split the final 14 points of the set and Army took a 2-0 lead in the match after another 25-19 frame victory.
Lehigh took a 6-4 lead in the third set following a kill from Poole and an Angelika Kopacz service ace, and the Mountain Hawks took an 8-6 advantage after Army tied it. The Black Knights scored four straight points, including a pair of Lehigh attack errors and an ace from Vaccaro, but Lehigh mounted a small rally of its own and tied the match at 13-13.
Army jumped ahead 15-13 after kills from Wilton and Vaccaro, and Lehigh was never able to tie up score again. The Mountain Hawks drew within 16-15 but the Black Knights scored two straight points to go up by three. Lehigh again closed the gap, first to 20-18 after a kill by McCutchan and 21-19 after an Army service error. But the Mountain Hawks gave the point right back on a service error, and Wilton collected two kills, including the match-clincher, and Army posted another 25-19 victory to claim the match 3-0.
Poole and McCutchan shared the team lead with eight kills apiece for Lehigh, with Poole hitting a team-best .471 with 17 attempts and no errors. Kudirka posted a double-double with 27 assists and 18 digs, while Rachel Charles collected a match-high 22 digs.