The American University volleyball team faces its final road trip of the regular season this weekend when it plays at Lafayette on Friday and at Lehigh on Saturday.
The teams throughout the Patriot League are battling to finish among the top four in the league standings, earning a spot in the PL Tournament to be held Nov. 18 and 19 at the site of the highest seed.
The Eagles have already clinched a spot in the tournament, and their 11-1 league record is good for a two-game lead in the standings with four to play. An AU sweep this weekend and a loss by Navy would clinch the home-court advantage for the tournament for American.
AU comes into the weekend with a 20-7 overall record and on a 12-match winning streak. The Eagles' only PL loss of the season was in four sets on Sept. 26 at Navy. American defeated Lehigh and Lafayette in three-set sweeps in early October.
Junior outside Aleksandra Kazala leads the Patriot League and is eighth nationally with her 4.73 kills-per-set average. During the Eagles' winning streak, she has been more efficient offensively, posting a .353 hitting percentage.
Junior middle Cheyenne Orsi earned honorable mention from the PL this week after getting 19 kills and a team-high 13 blocks in wins over Army West Point and Holy Cross. Orsi now leads the Eagles with 79 blocks.
The Leopards are 5-20 overall and in eighth place with a 2-10 mark in Patriot League matches. Lafayette has lost five straight and 10 of its last 12.
Senior Tori Smith leads Lafayette offensively (2.14 kills/set), while freshman Lexie Caraveo is sixth in the league in digs (3.84/set).
American won 25-15, 25-20, 25-13 in the previous meeting between the teams on Oct. 7 in Bender Arena.
Lehigh, 16-10 overall, currently holds down the fourth and final playoff spot. The Mountain Hawks are 7-5 in the league, two games behind Army West Point and Navy for second and one game ahead of Colgate and Bucknell.
Sophomore Ana Spangenberg leads Lehigh offensively at 3.58 kills per set (third in the PL), with freshman Sabrina Lancaster averaging 2.58. Defensively, the Mountain Hawks have sophomore middle Lauren Bright at 1.07 blocks per set and junior libero Emily Develle at 4.44 digs per set – each is fourth in the PL in those categories.
The Mountain Hawks lost at Bender Arena earlier this season, 25-15, 25-23, 25-16.
American plays its final two matches of the regular season at home next weekend. The Eagles face Colgate on Friday at 7 p.m. before hosting Senior Day on Sunday at 2 p.m. against Bucknell.
Tickets for all AU home volleyball matches are available at the Bender Arena Box Office. General admission seats are $8 for adults and $5 for children. AU students are admitted free with a valid student ID.