For the ninth time in 10 years, the American University volleyball team was crowned Patriot League Champions, defeating Colgate Sunday afternoon at Bender Arena 3-0. The victory came in straight sets, 25-17, 25-19, 25-21.
Angelina Waterman was named tournament MVP following the victory and was joined on the All-Patriot League Team by Katerina Cinkova and Magdalena Tekiel. Waterman averaged 4.00 kps and 3.00 dps over the weekend with a .345 hitting percentage. Cinkova, meanwhile, averaged 2.12 kps and 1.33 bps while hitting .423 as Tekiel notched 3.50 kps and 2.33 dps.
American (29-2, 14-0) has won nine of the last 10 Patriot League Championships and are a perfect 18-0 in tournament play at Bender Arena. The Eagles will now wait to hear who and where they will play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, which will be announced next Sunday, November 28 on ESPNNews between 3:00 and 3:30 p.m. This will mark American's 11th NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 14 years.
American got off to a quick start against Colgate (18-12, 10-4), taking the first set by a score of 25-17. The Eagles used a 7-0 run early in the set to open a 12-4 lead and later responded to a Colgate spurt with five straight points to move the score to 23-15. One of 10 Raider errors gave the Eagles set point, 25-17.
Colgate led 3-0 to open the second before a 6-1 American run put the Eagles on top 6-4. With the score tied at 13, American used a 7-2 run to begin pulling away from the Raiders and scored set point, 25-19, on a Waterman kill.
The third set was tight wire-to-wire with the team's trading the lead twice seven times. American took the lead for good on a Colgate error, 18-17, and used a 3-0 run to open a four-point cushion, 22-18. The Raiders battled back to within one, 22-21, but three straight points earned championship point for the Eagles, 25-21.
"It's a good feeling. This year we had a goal to get this tournament here in Bender Arena and thankfully that was able to happen," Head Coach Barry Goldberg stated. "Many of the same players were on the floor for us last year that felt the disappointment of not finding a way through the last match at Army. This year we regrouped, we intensified our speed in our game and our practices were quite competitive. I think the players deserve a lot of credit for coming in here regularly and competing against one another so hard as the season went on."
Tekiel scored a match-high 13 kills, finishing the day with a .407 hitting percentage, seven digs and two blocks. Waterman chipped in 10 kills while hitting .320 and notched nine digs. Bianca Richardson and Cassandra Ricketts tallied eight kills apiece.
American combined to hit .309 for the match as Krysta Cicala dished out 40 assists. The sophomore setter also matched her season-high with 12 digs for her third double-double of the year. Colgate, meanwhile, was limited to a .093 hitting percentage as the Eagles forced 22 errors.
American will enter the NCAA Tournament riding a 23-match win streak, tying the longest win streak in program history. The Eagles' 29 wins this season are fourth most in program annals, behind two 30 win seasons and a 34 win season in 1994.