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Championship Wrapup: A Whole Lotta Champions Playing This Weekend

Contrary to popular belief, I am not employed in any capacity by the Patriot League or Lehigh Athletics, though sometimes it must seem like I am.

But there were two Patriot League championships clinched by teams from Lehigh this weekend, not just the the co-championship clinch by the Mountain Hawk football team this weekend at Fitton Field in Worcester.

A surprising turn of events in the Patriot League women's soccer tournament meant No. 3 seeded Lehigh, after upsetting top-seeded Army 1-0 Sunday afternoon, won the Patriot League championship and got to their first-ever NCAA tournament.

It caps off an extraordinary year for Lehigh Athletics in general - most of whom play this weekend, too. (more)

From the release:

After dropping a 1-0 heartbreaker at Army in the regular season, the Mountain Hawks closed the year by going unbeaten over their final six league games and winning both games over the weekend.

“We knew they would come out strong,” said Lehigh first-year head coach Eric Lambinus. “We knew they’d give us everything they got, and they did that in the second half. We were happy to withstand their pressure and not give up a goal. I had a feeling we would put the ball in the back of the net [and then] we finished the last 15 minutes in unbelievable fashion.”

Army continued to pour on the pressure, causing senior GK Lauren Mains to make two quick saves. Lehigh responded by scoring the game’s only goal at 75:32 when junior D Genna Pepe made a cross from the right flank. She found senior F Liz Carlos in front, who didn’t get a good shot off initially, but she capitalized on the second chance to make it 1-0 in favor of Lehigh.

“Genna set me up perfectly for the goal,” said Carlos. “She made a beautiful cross and I did the easy part, just finishing it.”

Mains didn't allow a goal in the entire tournament, and the team hadn't lost since that 1-0 game at Army referred to in the article. As their reward, they will face off in the first round of the NCAA Tournament this weekend against an ACC powerhouse: Virginia, who received a No. 2 national seed and will be hosting this weekend's first-round matchup this Friday at 5 PM.

“I would hope our mindset is to go down there to win a game,” said Lambinus in the release. “You don’t get into the tournament and not try to win it. You never know. Upsets have happened all the time, so we’re excited about the opportunity [in front of us].”

Over on the enemy's side, "Virginia is making its 17th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 23rd overall appearance. Only North Carolina and Notre Dame have longer active streaks of tournament appearances. Last year Virginia advanced to the third round past St. John's and Penn State before falling at UCLA."

Should Lehigh pull off the upset, they'd face either UNC-Greensboro or South Carolina on Saturday in the second round.


The women's soccer championship, alongside the men's basketball, women's basketball, and now football (since they've clinched at least a co-championship) means that the Mountain Hawks will have won four major Patriot League championships in the past twelve months.

With the men's soccer team entering the Patriot League championship this weekend with a No. 2 seed and a chance to win the title, it means this weekend you can actually follow four Patriot League champions in competition, and a potential fifth with the men's soccer team.

It makes for quite a schedule if you're a Lehigh sports nut like myself.

At 5:00 PM on Friday the 12th, Lehigh's champion women's soccer team will be in Klöckner Stadium in Charlottesville, VA in their first-round matchup. It's unclear whether there will be any coverage of the game - none will be provided from, for reasons that will become obvious - but if I can't find any audio of the game, I will most likely be opening a live stats window on my computer to follow the game to see if Lehigh can make history.

At 7:00 PM on Friday, the men's wrestling team will be in Pittsburgh to take on the No 14-ranked Panthers, as the grapplers from the 3rd-placed EIWA team from last year go to their first road dual of the year.  There will be no Lehigh coverage of that game either, audio or video - but you can get video of the event through Pitt's CBS College Sports All-Access.  I probably won't be following that one - for reasons that will become obvious.

At 7:30 PM on Friday, the men's basketball team will be contesting its season opener at Penn State. The game won't be carried live on TV, unfortunately - instead, it will broadcast via tape delay this Sunday - but if you sign up for BigTenNetwork.Com and are an existing subscriber, you can stream the game for free on your computer or laptop. That's exactly what I plan to do Friday evening with my laptop, a HDMI cable and my HD-capable TV. (Of course, I'll mute the pro-Big Ten announcers and use the audio from my subscription to Stretch Internet to listen to the "good guys" call the game, i.e. Matt Kerr.)

That's challenging enough.  But it's at 8:00 PM on Friday when all hell breaks loose.

That's when the semifinals of the Patriot League men's soccer tournament begin - where No. 2 Lehigh takes on No. 3 American - and the Lehigh women's basketball team, the Lady Hawks, play their season opener in Pittsburgh, PA against Duquesne.

The men's soccer semifinal looks like it's going to be streamed on Patriot League All-Access at 8:00 PM.  I'll probably have to wait until halftime of the Penn State game to watch that, perhaps with the audio of the women's basketball game vs. Duquesne - featuring the solo debut of the new voice of the Lady Hawks, Matt Markus.  When the men's basketball game comes to its conclusion, I'll have to do the men's soccer/women's basketball switch once again for the final half hour of action.

And that doesn't even count Saturday - where, of course, I'll be following Lehigh football's bid to remove the "co-" from their Patriot League Championship and clinch the autobid to the FCS playoffs - and Sunday, where the Lady Hawks will be facing off against Robert Morris at Noon, and the Lehigh wrestling team will be facing off against No. 6 Penn State at 2:00 PM, with Steve Lomangino, I think, doing the call, on Stretch Internet and 91.3 WLVR in the Lehigh Valley.

Again, if you are subscribed to the Lehigh Sports All-Access package, you're in luck: you'll get streaming audio of a ton of different games, to go with live stats.

For the Georgetown game - if you're not going to be hopping on a bus to watch the game in the District - you can purchase all-access video through the Georgetown CBS College Sports website.  (If you're a Verizon FIOS subscriber, the game will also be available on-demand as well.)

It's not going to be easy to follow four - perhaps five - championship teams in one weekend, but it should be a lot of fun. It will be even more fun if the NCAA makes some sort of stream available of the game this Friday.


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