For the 12th straight year, the AU volleyball team clinched a Patriot League Tournament berth after sweeping Lehigh and Lafayette Nov. 2 and Nov. 3 on the road. With the victories, the Eagles extended their conference winning streak to five straight matches.
“It’s great,” AU head coach Barry Goldberg said. “It’s nice to have a spot for sure in the tournament, and we’ll see how it all plays out.”
The Eagles (18-9, 9-3 PL) clinched a postseason appearance off strong performances from Sara Rishell, Kristyna Lindovska and Kylann Scheidt in their convincing win over Lafayette (9-15, 2-10 PL).
Rishell, who ranks third in the Patriot League in kills and tenth in blocks, hit a team-best .524 to lead AU to victory. Lindovska hit .400 and Scheidt, who is third in the Patriot League in assists, recorded 32.
“Our hitting percentage has been better, and our results have been better,” Goldberg said. “We’re definitely hitting the ball better. We’re finding a fairly set lineup now that we’re going with that was hard in the beginning since we were dealing with injuries.”
AU earned the victory despite being without Juliana Crum, who was limited to just two sets of action due to an ankle injury she suffered two weeks ago. Crum is expected to return to full-time status for this weekend’s matches.
The day before the Lafayette win, AU defeated Lehigh (11-12, 7-5 PL) soundly to create separation between them and the potential No. 4 seed in the conference tournament. Rishell and Lindovska again had dominant performances, leading the team in kills and hitting percentage, respectively.
“Kristyna Lindovska has played a lot better these last few weeks,” Goldberg said. “That has been really good for us. She has been a good right side player.”
Kelly McCaddin, who helped take over serving duties after Scheidt was out with a concussion for two weeks in October, was also a key contributor on the weekend for the Eagles.
The Eagles will wrap up the regular season with two home matches. They will take on first-place Colgate Nov. 9 and then face Bucknell Nov. 10 in the season finale.
“This will be a big weekend at home for us to finish off the regular season,” Goldberg said. “We’re excited for it.”
Along with AU and Colgate, Army has also clinched a bid to the Patriot League Tournament. The fourth and final spot will be decided between Lehigh and Navy when regular season play finishes up this weekend.