Sept. 23, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Army outhit the Navy volleyball team by 100 points to help the Black Knights post a four-set -- 25-19, 28-30, 25-16, 25-23 -- victory over the Midshipmen Saturday night at the Wesley A. Brown Field House in Annapolis. The match that last nearly two hours and was viewed by close to 800 fans featured 33 ties and 12 lead changes.
The win improves Army's record to 2-0 (10-5 overall) at the end of the first weekend of the Patriot League season while the loss drops Navy's league record to 1-1 (5-9 overall). The Black Knights had opened the season Friday night by winning the last three sets of a five-set match at American, while the Mids began league play with a three-set win over Holy Cross.
"It was so rewarding to see the team just keep chipping away and coming back in the way they did whenever they had a deficit," said Navy head coach Larry Bock. "That is the sign of a special team. We can play. We will lose hard for a day or so, but then will get back to work on Monday.
"It had to be a lot of fun to watch this match. It was a great crowd, which made it fun for the players. This is what Army-Navy volleyball is like, and these two teams are going to be battling quite a few times in here in the future. It will be a great place to spend a Friday or Saturday night."
Navy had an early lead of as many as four points in the first set before Army ran off the next six points to take a 12-10 advantage. The Mids notched the ensuing two points to tie the score at 12-12, then the teams played sideout volleyball for a lengthy series of points. Army would soon tally back-to-back points to take a 21-19 lead. After a kill from Alex Cassel (So., Sandy, Utah) cut the lead in half, the Black Knights ran off the final four points of the set to win the opening frame.
The second set featured 14 ties, four lead changes, and the teams combining to total six serves for the set before the Mids eventually prevailed. Navy built several early three point leads before a 4-0 run by Army gave the Black Knights a 15-14 advantage. The teams traded points until Army recorded a second-consecutive point to take an 18-16 lead. The Mids quickly erased those two points, but found themselves again down by two points at 22-20. A Cassel kill was followed by a Navy service error to keep the margin at two points (23-21). Navy answered with back-to-back kills from Katie Sylakowski
(Fr., Escondido, Calif.) and Case Trimble
(So., Orlando, Fla.) which tied the score at 23-23.
Army's Zoe Kreitenberg and Mary Vaccaro teamed up for a block on Erin Fortner (Jr., Villa Hills, Ky.) to give Army a chance to serve for the set, but a ball-handling error by the Black Knights tied the score at 24-24. Sylakowski tallied an attack error to give Army its second chance to serve for the set, but Kreitenberg committed a service error to keep the set going. Vaccaro followed with a kill when Cassel was whistled for a blocking error that gave Army a 26-25 lead and its third chance to serve for the set. Trimble responded with a kill to again knot the score.
Navy was given its first chance to serve for the set when Army's Ariana Mankus committed an attack error, but a kill from Francine Vasquez returned the serve to the Black Knights with the score tied at 27-27. It became 28-27 in favor of the Mids as Carolyn Ewert (Sr., Bakersfield, Calif.) notched a kill, but became 28-28 when Margaux Jarka was awarded a kill on a blocking error from Alex Karika (Fr., Cranberry Township, Pa.). Karika responded by combining with Cassel for a block of Jarka to end the next point and give Navy a 29-28 lead. An attack error by Vasquez would end the next point and give the lengthy second set to Navy.
Army held a very slim lead through the early part of the third set until an 8-0 run by the Black Knights gave them a 19-10 advantage. The closest Navy could close to over the remainder of the set was six points at 21-15.
The Black Knights quickly jumped out to a 7-3 lead at the start of the fourth set. Their advantage would grow to as many as six points at both 11-5 and 16-10. Army still held a 17-13 lead when the Mids started to chip into the margin. The Black Knights led, 18-15, but a 4-0 run by the Mids gave them a 19-18 lead. The last three points of that four-point run came on kills by Trimble. A borderline in-out call went in Army's favor on the next point to allow the Black Knights to tie the score at 19-19. Trimble notched another kill, but then another close in-out call went Army's way to tie the score at 20-20. Jarka proceeded to tally a kill to give Army a 21-20 lead and force Bock to call a timeout.
Army had a ball-handling miscue on the next point to tie the score, but then a Molly McDonald kill and a Krietenberg / Vasquez block on Fortner gave the Black Knights a 23-21 lead. The difference was sliced in half on a kill by Cassel, which was followed by a Navy attack error that gave Army its first chance to serve for the match with a 24-22 lead. Fortner extended the match with a kill to make the score 24-23. Vaccaro would post a kill on the next point to close out the evening.
"Case really elevated her play as the match went on," said Bock, "especially in the fourth set. There was that one sequence late where we knew we were going to her, Army knew we were going to her and everyone in the stands knew we were going to her, but she just kept putting it down. That was neat to see."
Army posted 65 kills and a .273 attack percentage in the match, while Navy accrued 51 kills and hit .173. While there was a difference in the offensive statistics between the teams, the defensive numbers were very similar. The Black Knights grabbed 73 digs while the Mids hauled in 67 digs, and both teams totaled 12.0 team blocks.
Karika did a good job of spreading the ball around to a variety of Navy hitters. Four Mids finished with at least 21 attempts and five Mids finished the match with between eight and 11 kills. Trimble led Navy with a career-high 11 kills and just one attack error on 21 swings for a team-high .476 hitting percentage. Reaching 10 kills were both Fortner and Cassel, while Ewert added nine kills and Sylakowski posted eight kills. Defensively, Cassel totaled 10 blocks, Jamie Francona (Fr., Chestnut Hill, Mass.) grabbed a career-high 18 digs, Christy Rapp (Sr., Royal Oak, Mich.) snared 15 digs and Ewert hauled in 12 digs.
"Carolyn was magnificent when we were out of sequence tonight," said Bock. "She consistently put us back into system. You have to credit Army's blocking. They just kept transitioning back on offense."
Jarka led Army with 16 kills, Ariana Mankus totaled 12 kills and 20 digs, and Vaccaro finished the night with 11 kills. Leading all passers in the match was Army's D.J. Phee with 22 digs.
Navy will continue its two-week homestand with matches Sept. 28 against Lehigh (7 p.m.) and Sept. 29 against Lafayette (Noon).