Dec. 1, 2011
2011 NCAA Volleyball Tournament Interactive Bracket
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — After a nearly two-week layoff, 2011 Patriot League Champion American heads to the NCAA Tournament to meet Delaware in a first-round match Friday at 5 p.m. at Rec Hall in University Park, Pa. The winner of that match will take on the winner of the No. 8 Penn State-Liberty contest in a second-round showdown Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Patriot League Volleyball NCAA Preview - 12.1.11
The Eagles are in the NCAA Tournament for the 10th time in 11 years as Patriot League champions and are making 12th overall appearance in the last 15 years.
American advanced this far after posting a pair of 3-1 wins in the Patriot League Tournament. The Eagles, who hosted the four-team playoff at Bender Arena in Washington, D.C., defeated No. 4 seed Colgate in the semifinals Nov. 19 and No. 2 Army in the championship match a day later. Freshman Sara Rishell added more hardware to her expanding trophy case as she was named Tournament MVP, becoming the first student-athlete in Patriot League history named Player and Rookie of the Year and Tournament MVP in the same season.
American will go up against a Delaware team that enters the NCAA Tournament with an overall record of 20-12 and has won four Colonial Athletic Association titles in five years. Should the Eagles advance, they will take on either eighth-seeded Penn State (23-7) or Liberty (20-12) in the second round. The Nittany Lions are the four-time defending national champions and are hosting the first and second rounds for the 22nd straight year.
2011 NCAA Tournament Preview and Notebook
FIRST ROUND – FRIDAY – REC HALL, UNIVERSITY PARK, PA.
American Eagles (23-10, 13-1 Patriot League) vs. Delaware Blue Hens (20-12, 11-3 Colonial), 5 p.m.
LAST MEETING American, 3-0 (Washington, D.C. – 2000) ALL-TIME SERIES Delaware, 8-7 (dates back to 1976) STREAK American, Four Wins AMERICAN NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY 0-11 LAST NCAA APPEARANCE 2010 LAST NCAA RESULT UCLA 3, American 2 (Austin, Texas – 12.3.10)
AMERICAN The Eagles will meet Delaware for the 16th time when the two face off in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament ... It will be their first-ever meeting in the NCAA postseason ... American has won the last four meetings with the Blue Hens, but the programs have not squared off since 2000 ... The Eagles enter the NCAA Tournament as the Patriot League’s best attacking club with a .262 hitting percentage, far ahead of Army’s .207 for second best ... American is allowing opponents to hit .190, but the Eagles held both Colgate and Army in the League Tournament under .100 ... Freshman Sara Rishell became the first in Patriot League history named Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Tournament MVP in the same season ... She became the second ever to capture both the Player and Rookie of the Year trophies and first since Army’s Ariana Mankus in 2009 ... Rishell was named MVP after totaling a tournament-record 19 blocks against the Raiders and Black Knights, helping the Eagles set the tournament mark for team blocks at 30 ... She hit .417 with 11 kills in the championship victory over Army ... Senior Rebecca Heath, the Patriot League’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year in volleyball, had 12 kills and 12 digs in the title win ... The Eagles boast four of the League’s top 10 in hitting, with Rishell sitting second at .317 ... Freshman Kelly McCaddin is third hitting .298, followed by sophomore Morgan Hendrix in sixth (.273) and Heath in ninth (.264) ... Rishell’s 3.15 kills per set is tops on the team and ranks fourth in the League ... Sophomore Juliana Crum follows closely behind with the League’s fifth-best kills-per-set average (3.12) ... Senior Alexandra Hammer and freshman Monika Smidova have combined for over 1,200 assists and are averaging nearly 12.00 per set between them ... American is riding a 10-match win streak entering Friday’s match with Delaware and has won 18 of 19, with a three-set loss at Lehigh Oct. 15 during League play standing as the only blemish during that stretch ... The Eagles have lost just five games during their current win streak.
LOOKING AHEAD Should American knock off Delaware, it would face either No. 8 seed Penn State or Liberty in the second round Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Rec Hall ... The Eagles are seeking their first-ever NCAA Tournament win, while a victory would also be the first for a Patriot League team in the national field since the conference began receiving an automatic bid in 1996 ... American is 0-5 all-time against Penn State and 6-2 versus Liberty ... The Eagles last faced Penn State in 2004 during the NCAA Tournament, while the previous meeting against Liberty was in 2000.
LOOKING TO GET OVER THE HUMP
American is back in the NCAA Tournament a year after taking traditional power UCLA to five sets in a first-round match in the 2010 bracket. The Eagles led 2-1 after posting a 25-23 win in game three, but the Bruins rallied for a 25-19 win in the fourth set and a 15-11 victory in the final frame to take the victory. It marked American’s second five-set loss in four years in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, as the Eagles also fell 3-2 to Duke in 2007.
American and Delaware shared three opponents during the regular season, with both teams losing to Villanova and nationally-ranked Oregon while posting at least a victory over George Mason. The Blue Hens defeated George Mason twice during CAA play, while American played the Patriots once in non-League action. American finished with a 1-2 mark against common foes while Delaware was 2-2.
FACING THE CAA
Patriot League teams saw very limited action against foes from the Colonial Athletic Association during the 2011 season. Only five meetings took place between members of the two conferences, with the Patriot League finishing with a 1-4 mark. American’s three-set victory against George Mason Sept. 14 accounts for the only victory. Lehigh fell in five sets to James Madison, Navy suffered 3-0 defeats against George Mason and Northeastern, and Holy Cross lost in three sets to Northeastern. Northeastern shared the CAA regular-season title with Delaware and was the No. 2 seed in its conference tournament.