Posted: 11/02/2011 | Last updated: November 3, 2011 at 09:23 AM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Winners of four of its last six, the Lehigh field hockey team looks to continue its roll when it plays in the Patriot League Tournament at American this weekend. The third-seeded Mountain Hawks (6-12, 3-2 PL) are set to square off against archrival and No. 2 Lafayette at 2 p.m. Friday in the second semifinal of the day, following an 11 a.m. matchup of top-seeded American and fourth-seeded Bucknell.
The winners of Friday’s games square off at 1 p.m. Saturday with the Patriot League Championship and an NCAA Tournament berth on the line. The Patriot League champion will visit the winner of the Mid-American Conference in an NCAA Play-In game Nov. 8.
Live video from the entire tournament will be available via Patriot League All-Access. Just click here for more information.
After a tough start to the season, the Mountain Hawks have turned things around in a big way. Since a 1-8 start, Lehigh has gone 5-4, which includes a 3-1 stretch when it defeated Colgate, Penn and Bucknell, while also leading Cornell with less than 10 minutes to go before the Big Red charged back for the victory.
A number of Lehigh players were recognized by the Patriot League this week for their tremendous seasons, on and off the field. Leading the way was sophomore Sierra Segear, who earned Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year while senior Abby Tilton garnered Scholar-Athlete laurels. In addition, three other Mountain Hawks earned All-League honors (Kim Eng, Steph Fratoni and Marie Mignogna) while senior Caitlin Donnelly joined Tilton on the Academic All-Patriot League Team.
Lehigh is 2-5-1 all-time in the Patriot League Tournament, playing in six different league tournaments prior to this year (1994, 1996, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009). The Mountain Hawks won the first-ever Patriot League Tournament in ‘94, beating Holy Cross 2-1 before tying Lafayette, then beating them in penalty strokes. Lehigh’s other league tournament win came in ‘96, 3-1, over Bucknell. Since, the Mountain Hawks have lost five in a row. The last time Lehigh played Lafayette in the Patriot League Tournament, the Leopards won a close 2-0 final.
Lafayette enters the tournament with an 8-7 record, 4-1 in Patriot League play. Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year Deanna DiCroce leads the attack with 27 points (10 goals, seven assists) while Kelsey Mead has 19 (eight goals, three assists) and Emily Valeo has 15 (four goals, seven assists). Kara Kish has seen the majority of time in goal, posting a 1.77 GAA and .679 save percentage while Jessica Deutsch has started as of late, owning a 2.03 GAA and .762 save percentage.
Lafayette owns a 33-12-3 all-time advantage against the Mountain Hawks, which includes winning each of the last seven matchups (4-0 this season). Lehigh had won two in a row, in 2004 (4-2) and ’05 (1-0) before the Leopards responded. The teams first met back in 1973 and have played every year since, including multiple times in a number of seasons. Lehigh’s biggest success against the Leopards came from 1983-86 when it won four in a row and six-of-seven against its archrival.