Sept. 14, 2012
PHILADELPHIA, PA. - The final weekend of the non-league season for the Navy volleyball team began with the Mids dropping a 25-21, 25-20, 25-23 decision to Temple Friday at McGonigle Hall in Philadelphia.
The first set was a close one between Temple (8-4) and Navy (3-8). The Owls separated themselves from the Mids slightly in the middle part of the set as they built a 19-16 lead. Navy was able to narrow the margin down to one point at both 20-19 and 22-21 before two Temple kills sandwiched around a Navy attack error closed out the set.
Temple then broke open the second set when an 11-1 run gave the Owls an 18-7 lead over Navy. The Mids fought back, but could only slice the deficit down to five points at 23-18 before the teams played sideout volleyball that resulted in Temple picking up the second frame.
Navy carried some of its second set momentum into the start of the third set as the Mids jumped out to six-point leads at both 10-4 and 12-6. Temple would quickly climb all the way back into the set and take a 14-13 lead. Navy regrouped and took two-point leads at 18-16, 19-17 and 20-18 before three-straight points gave Temple a 21-20 advantage.
Carolyn Ewert (Sr., Bakersfield, Calif.) and Alex Cassel (So., Sandy, Utah) combined on a block to tie the score at 21-21, then a kill by Ewert gave Navy a 22-21 lead. The advantage for the Mids was short lived as Tiffany Connatser tallied a kill for the Owls, then Connatser fed Gabriella Matautia for a kill to give Temple a 23-22 lead. A service error by Matautia tied the score at 23-23, but a Christy Rapp (Sr., Royal Oak, Mich.) service error took the Owls to match point. Connatser would set Jennifer Iacobini for a kill to conclude the match.
"There were places in each set where Temple was able to go on significant runs," said Navy head coach Larry Bock, "and we couldn't answer with matching runs of our own.
"Temple executed its transition game very well tonight. They were able to turn digs into points more than we were able to. We also gave them a lot of free balls to work with, and you can't do that and expect to succeed."
Temple's offense recorded 46 kills and a .254 attack percentage on the night, while its defense allowed Navy to record 38 kills and hit .174. The Mids would both outdig (47-46) and outblock (9-5) the Owls in the match.
Erin Fortner (Jr., Villa Hills, Ky.) led the Navy offense with 10 kills, with Cassel adding nine kills and a .471 hitting percentage to the attack. Rapp hauled in a Navy-high 13 kills, with Fortner just missing a double-double for the evening by one dig. Additionally, Cassel tallied five blocks for the Mids, while both Fortner and setter Alex Karika (Fr., Cranberry Township, Pa.) contributed four blocks.
Temple's offense was led by Matautia with 14 kills, while its defense was paced by Chelsea Tupuola's 23 digs.
Navy will remain in Philadelphia overnight to take on Central Connecticut State Saturday at 1 p.m. on the Temple campus.
"Tonight was a good match in that we were able to replicate a typical Friday road match in the league where we travel for a few hours, step off the bus and have to play. We learned a few things with that tonight, and we expect to learn a few more things Saturday with the short turnaround before we play another good team."