Sept. 1, 2012
FAIRFAX, Va. -
The Navy women's volleyball team (1-4) dropped a pair of matches at George Mason's Patriot Invitational on Saturday. Navy fell in five sets to Niagara (2-2), 3-2, in the first game and lost to West Virginia (3-3), 3-0, in the nightcap.
The Mids dropped the five-setter to Niagara by scores of 21-25, 14-25, 26-24, 25-12, 15-8.
Navy won the first two games and jumped out to an 18-11 lead in what could have been the deciding third game in a sweep for Navy. However, Niagara went on an 8-1 run to knot the game at 19-19. Both teams then stayed close until the game was even again at 24-24 and Niagara scored back-to-back points on a kill and an ace to capture the set.
Niagara then made quick work of Navy in the fourth game, racing out to leads of 7-2 and then 19-6. It was more of the same in the fifth set as Niagara captured seven of the first eight points to win the frame 15-8 and capture the match.
The Mids used a huge comeback of their own to win the first game. After Niagara took a six-point lead at 17-11, Navy closed the game on a 14-4 run which included a 6-0 spurt with freshman Alex Karika on the serve.
Navy played its best in the second game, registering 15 kills and hitting at a .519 clip while taking the frame, 25-14.
Junior Erin Fortner (Villa Hills, Ky.) led Navy with 19 kills and a .378 hitting percentage. Fortner also added 10 digs. Senior Carolyn Ewert (Bakersfield, Calif.) added 12 kills and 15 digs and freshman Olivia Yeager (Lutz, Fla.) contributed 11 kills and 11 digs.
Senior Christy Rapp (Royal Oak, Mich.) had 27 digs and freshman Katie Sylakowski (Escondido, Calif.) had six blocks. Rapp's 27 digs are the third most in a five-set game during the rally scoring era in school history.
Niagara's Kari Honomichl matched Fortner with 19 kills of her own.
"We played two and a half great sets against Niagara," head coach Larry Bock said. "But we just didn't respond when there was a little pressure. We got a little conservative when we had been aggressive before."
Navy fell to West Virginia, 25-18, 25-18, 25-18. West Virginia hit a solid .389 in the match and also recorded 10 blocks and held Navy to a .057 hitting percentage.
Navy trailed West Virginia by two (16-14) in the first game before the Mountaineers reeled off a 9-4 run to close out the game.
West Virginia used another run in the second game to break open a 12-11 lead. West Virginia went on a 7-1 run to take control.
Navy jumped out to an 8-5 lead in the third set, but the Mountaineers retook control with a 9-1 run and eventually won the final frame by the same score as the first two, 25-18.
West Virginia received 12 kills from Hannah Sackett and eight kills from Evyn McCoy. Setter Brittany Sample gave out 32 assists.
Ewert led Navy with seven kills in the nightcap.
"The West Virginia game was kind of a replay to last week's game against Nebraska-Omaha," said Bock. "It was a physical match but we weren't able to compensate with ball control. We did get to play everybody though and got some reps in for the people who have been putting in the work in practice."
Navy will play two matches on Sunday at the Patriot Invitational. The Mids will first take on South Carolina at 11:00 AM and then George Mason at 5:00 PM.