Sept. 21, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Strong starts in every set propelled the Navy volleyball team to a 25-19, 25-19, 25-13 victory over Holy Cross Friday night at the Wesley A. Brown Field House in Annapolis. The win was Navy's second victory in a row, its third in the last four matches and marked the first time since the 2007 season that the Mids recorded a victory in its opening match of a Patriot League season.
"It is really reassuring to look out onto the court and see confidence on the faces of our players," said Navy head coach Larry Bock. "That confidence is starting to develop. We have good players and have been a good team at different times and they are starting to recognize that."
The Mids (5-8, 1-0 Patriot League) started the match by scoring the opening five points of the first set on their way to jumping out to an 8-2 lead over the Crusaders (0-14, 0-1 Patriot League). Holy Cross closed to within three points of Navy at 8-5, 9-6 and 13-10. A service error by the Crusaders ignited a 3-0 run by the Mids, but Holy Cross fought back and soon had again winnowed the margin down to three points at 18-15. Another Holy Cross service error ended the rally for the Crusaders as the miscue was followed by back-to-back kills from Navy's Katie Sylakowski (Fr., Escondido, Calif.) and Case Trimble (So., Orlando, Fla.). Those points for the Mids allowed them to open up enough of a cushion to win the first set.
Navy again had a good start to the second set as the Mids notched three of the first-four points of the frame. After that quick start, Navy very slowly edged its way out to a five-point lead at 12-7. Just as in the first set, Holy Cross sliced the deficit down to three points (14-11) and kept the Mids from completely pulling away from the Crusaders. The score would again show just a three-point separation between the teams at 19-16 when back-to-back kills from Sylakowski and Trimble let the Mids expand the cushion out to five points at 21-16. The Navy lead would not dwindle below three points over the remainder of the set.
The Mids began the third set by jumping out to a 5-2 lead, then were able to stretch it out to margins of 10-4, 15-5 and 20-9 before closing out the match.
"We set a real good tone at the start of the match," said Bock, "then had a real good rhythm going after that. Something that happened early on that was very important was our winning a number of long rallies. Holy Cross scrambles extremely well and it is hard to get the ball down on them unless you are hitting good shots. Them in the second set, we sided out very well, and we really needed to do so with the way things were going at the time with our serving. It was nice to win a set and a match that wasn't real pretty."
Navy's tallied 47 kills and a .278 hitting percentage in the match, while its defense held Holy Cross to 16 kills and forced the Crusaders into 17 attack errors (-.010 hitting percentage for the match). The Mids also outdug the Crusaders, 66-45, and recorded 7.0 blocks to 3.0 for Holy Cross.
Navy's Erin Fortner (Jr., Villa Hills, Ky.) led all players in the match with 13 kills, Alex Cassel (So., Sandy, Utah) totaled nine kills and no attack errors on 12 swings (.750), while Trimble added eight kills. Defensively for Navy, Cassel posted six blocks, Christy Rapp (Sr., Royal Oak, Mich.) hauled in 19 digs and J.B. Loomis (So., Havertown, Pa.) snared 12 digs.
Emily Oliver led the Holy Cross offense with eight kills, while Elizabeth Watters grabbed 14 digs for its defense.
Navy will return to the Wesley A. Brown Field House Saturday when the Mids play host to Army in an 8 p.m. match. Navy All-Access subscribers can view a video stream of the Star Match between the teams. Log-in or register to be a Navy All-Access subscriber by visiting NavySports.com.