Aug. 24, 2012
Final Stats |
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- After scoring the opening three points of the fifth set, the Navy volleyball team closed the frame by scoring five of the last six points to post a 13-25, 25-19, 25-21, 18-25, 15-13 victory over Hartford Friday night at the Wesley A. Brown Field House in Annapolis. The match, which concluded day one of the Kristen Dickmann Invitational, was the season opening match for both programs.
The result marked the third consecutive season in which the Mids and the Hawks played a five-set match against one another. Navy won last year's match in Hartford by the score of 15-12 in the fifth set, while Hartford tallied a 15-9 victory in the final set against the Mids two years ago in Annapolis.
Additionally, Navy improved its record in five-set matches under second-year head coach Larry Bock to 5-1.
"I'm pleased with the recovery we made tonight," said Bock. "There were some chances for us to fold things up after both the first and fourth sets. I thought our upperclass just settled things down and starting passing the ball well. Just seeing how they rebounded, that's the sign of a mature team. Obviously we don't have a team that can be considered old in terms of age, but maybe they are mature in terms of their playing ability."
The two teams were tied at 5-5 in the first set when Hartford went on a 6-1 run to take an 11-6 advantage. The Hawks would soon break open the frame with a 6-0 run that gave them an 18-8 cushion. They would hit .417 in winning the opening set.
Navy tallied six kills and six hitting errors in the opening set. The Mids would again tally six hitting errors in the second set, but nearly tripled their kill total to 17 in evening the match at one set apiece. Hartford held an early 6-3 lead before Navy tied the set at 7-7. Neither team could build an advantage of more than one point until a 3-0 run gave Navy a 17-15 advantage. The score would again be tied at 18-18 when three-straight kills by Olivia Yeager (Fr., Lutz, Fla.), Carolyn Ewert (Sr., Bakersfield, Calif.) and Katie Sylakowski (Fr., Escondido, Calif.) allowed the Mids to separate themselves a little bit from the Hawks. Alex Cassel (So., Sandy, Utah) and Erin Fortner (Jr., Villa Hills, Ky.) next combined for a block to make it four-consecutive points by Navy, with an ensuing service ace by Sylakowski making the score 23-18. Ewert proceeded to knock down another kill to take Navy to set point. After a kill by Hartford's Jacklie Tamburri extended the frame, Fortner posted another kill to close out the set.
The third set was much like the second one was. The one difference was that in this frame it was Navy that took an early lead (11-6) before Hartford rallied to knot the score (13-13). Hartford held the largest lead -- 19-17 -- over the ensuing stretch of points before a quick 3-0 burst gave the Mids a 20-19 lead. After the teams played sideout volleyball for several points, a kill by Cassel and a kill by Yeager gave Navy a 23-21 lead. Alex Karika (Fr., Cranberry Township, Pa.) and Cassel then teamed up for a block to give Navy a 24-21 lead, which was followed by a Hartford ball-handling error that give the Mids the third set.
Hartford led for pretty much the entire fourth set. A run of four consecutive points gave the Hawks a 6-3 lead, and they quickly expanded that slim margin to advantages of 13-5, 19-9 and 22-13 before finishing out the set and sending the match to a decisive fifth set.
The final set started with back-to-back kills from Sylakowski and Yeager, which was followed by a ball-handling error by the Hawks that gave Navy its early 3-0 lead. Navy still held a multiple-point cushion at 4-2 before back-to-back points by Hartford evened the score. The score would be tied again at 5-5, 6-6, 7-7, 8-8 and 9-9 before the Hawks tallied a kill and a service ace to take an 11-9 lead. Their latter point came on a service ace from Dionna Kirton.
Sylakowski was involved in the next two points as she first notched a kill and then an attack error to allow Hartford to again hold a two-point lead at 12-10. Fortner sliced the margin in half with a kill, then Bock summoned Kelsey Owen (Sr., Canfield, Ohio) from the bench and sent her back to serve for the Mids. A ball-handling error by Hartford tied the score and let Owen serve again. She would stay at the service line following an attack error by Hartford's Lindsay Anderson. After a Hartford timeout and another Owen serve, Ewert and Cassel combined for a block of Anderson that gave Navy its fourth-straight point and a 14-12 lead. Hartford's Kami Nethersole posted a kill to make the score 14-13, but Fortner placed an attack just out of the reach of the Hartford defense on the next point to conclude the nearly two-hour match.
"A couple of things happened late in the fifth set," said Bock. "Christy got aced late to make the score 11-9, but she came back and passed nails the rest of the way. Then that serving run by Kelsey, that was the match right there. It was so much fun to see Christy and Kelsey, as well as Carolyn the whole way through, putting everyone on their shoulders at the right time."
Navy hit .438 (9 kills, 2 errors, 16 attempts) in the final set while Hartford's offense recorded an attack percentage of .300 (8-2-20).
Hartford would hold several statistical leads over Navy in the match, including kills (60-52), attack percentage (.222-.199), aces (9-3) and digs (48-44). Navy balanced out the statistical ledger somewhat by tallying 11.0 team blocks to 5.0 for Hartford.
Navy's offense was paced by Ewert with 14 kills, Yeager with 13 kills and Sylakowski with 11 kills and a .474 attack percentage. Sylakowski would contribute six blocks to the Navy defense, with Fortner adding five blocks and Cassel notching four blocks. Among the Navy passers, Rapp snared 12 digs with four more Mids hauling in between five and eight digs apiece.
"It was a solid effort by our freshman class," said Bock. "Sylakowski lit it up. She was a go-to player, and Olivia was terrific. Alex had some ups and downs but through the bulk of the match she was a cagey, mature, well-located setter."
Hartford's Sareeta Nethersole led all players with 19 kills on 31 swings (.548 attack percentage).
Friday's first match saw Nebraska-Omaha post a four-set (18-25, 25-16, 25-23, 25-13) victory over Norfolk State.
The Kristen Dickmann Invitational continues Saturday with four matches. Starting the day off will be Navy and Norfolk State at 11 a.m. That will be followed by Hartford and Nebraska-Omaha at 1 p.m. and by Hartford against Norfolk State at 4 p.m. The day and the tournament concludes with Navy playing host to Nebraska-Omaha at 6 p.m. A free, live video stream of the match between the Mids and the Mavericks will be available at NavySports.com.
"We have to figure out our relationship with the net and our blocking Saturday," said Bock. "We may have set a world record for the number of times we were in the net. And we have to serve much tougher. We were kind of light with that tonight. Hartford is too good of an attacking team, as are the teams we will face tomorrow, that if we let up on our serve, things won't go well for us."