Leopards Open Round Two Of Patriot League Play With Pivotal Weekend Matches
Oct. 19, 2006
EASTON, Pa. (www.lafayette.edu) - Heading into the second half of Patriot League play, Lafayette head coach Terri Dadio Campbell and believes her team has positioned itself as a force to be reckoned with among league opponents. That being said, Lafayette faces a pair of crucial Patriot League games at Navy and American on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
"I think that we accomplished everything that we needed to in the first half of the league schedule," Campbell said. "We put ourselves in a great position heading down the stretch and hopefully into the Patriot League tournament."
Qualifying as one of four teams competing in the Patriot League tournament has been the Leopards' goal all season and is something the program has not done since 1995. Boasting a 13-6 overall record, Lafayette is on pace for its best season in two decades. Campbell, who was appointed Lafayette's first full-time head coach in 2001, attributes the turnaround to a stronger commitment to the volleyball program.
"It's been the evolution of a true program," Campbell said. "We are putting more talent on the floor and training with a year-round commitment. It's been great for the seniors, who were my first recruiting class, to finally see things come around full-circle in their final season."
The Leopards travel to Annapolis, Md. to face-off against a 2-5 Navy club that is has gone winless in its last three Patriot League outings. A tournament team last season, Navy is hungry to get back on track.
"They have juggled their lineup in the last few matches, so we'll see what that brings out on Friday," Campbell said.
Lafayette topped Navy for the first time since 1995, 3-0, in the season's first meeting on Sept. 23. The Leopards won all three games by a slim average of just 5.3 points, but pulled out a victory against a highly competitive Navy team.
The Leopards have less than 24 hours to prepare for a marquee match-up against defending champion American on Saturday at 2 p.m. Looking to avenge a 3-1 loss against the Eagles at home on Sept. 21, Campbell likes her team's energy heading into the match.
"American just wore us down in the first time around," Campbell said. "The key for Saturday is to maintain our rhythm and momentum, which will enable us to compete against a team that's really on a roll."
A 30-15 win in game one in the first meeting showed the Leopards' potential against a younger, more inexperienced American team than in years past. In addition, Lafayette brings a streak of 13 wins in its last 15 matches entering the weekend.
"The pressure is on, but our team is feeling very confident right now," Campbell said.
Lafayette is fresh off a 3-0 non-conference win over East Stroudsburg at home on Wednesday night and is scheduled to play its next four straight league matches on the road.
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