Oct. 5, 2012
WASHINGTON, D.C. -
The Navy volleyball team had American on the ropes on Friday night in Washington D.C. The Mids won the first two sets, but the Eagles rallied to take the final three and defeat the Midshipmen, 3-2. Navy is now 7-10 overall and 3-2 in the Patriot League. With the win, American improved to 11-7 overall and 3-2 in conference play.
Erin Fortner led Navy with 12 kills before leaving in the third set due to an injury; Case Trimble added nine kills. Defensively, Christy Rapp registered a match-high 25 digs, while Alex Cassel led all Mids with four blocks.
After taking the first two sets both by scores of 25-23, Navy got out to a slow start in the third set as the Eagles took an early lead and pulled away in the end for a 25-14 win. American then took a tight fourth set, 25-21, and won the deciding fifth set, 15-7.
"We obviously lost some steam in the third game," said Navy head coach Larry Bock. "American made some good adjustments and was able to turn it up a notch in that third set. Morgan Hendrix and Bree Scarborough really started to become effective for them, as did their outside hitters."
After trailing the entire first set, Navy fought back and pulled even at 16 with the help of two kills from Fortner, and then took its first lead, 17-16, with an ace by Katie Sylakowski. However, American scored six of the next seven points to go ahead, 22-18, and appeared to be on the brink of closing out the set. Kills by Fortner, Alex Karika and Olivia Yeager kept Navy alive as it tied the match at 22. The Mids used the momentum to take three of the next four points to win the first set.
Similar to the opening set, the second started much the same as the Eagles got out to an early 6-1 advantage. Navy rallied to take the next seven points and the match remained tight with neither side gaining more than a two-point lead up until the teams found themselves deadlocked at 17. With the score tied, Fortner picked up two straight kills to give Navy a lead it would not relinquish. The Eagles stayed close, pulling within one point at 23-22, but a service error and set-winning kill by Fortner gave the Mids all they would need to close out the win.
Following a set that featured eight ties and three lead changes, American snapped the only tie of set three at 1-1 and never looked back. After trailing by as many as six points, Navy fought back to make the score 15-11. But American took 10 of the final 13 points to win, 25-14.
The Mids scored the first three points of set four, but after American tied it at six, it took six of the next seven points for a 12-6 lead. Navy stayed tough and pulled within two points of tying the set on three different occasions. The Mids last got within two points of tying the set when the Eagles led 22-20, but two kills from Hendrix and one by Rebecca Heath won it for American.
The decisive fifth set featured just one tie at 2-2 before the Eagles slowly pulled away from Navy. The Eagles played error-free in the fifth set and posted a 57.1 hitting percentage en route to the 15-7 victory.
Despite the tough loss, Bock and the Mids were able to take away some positives from the match.
"We played a very good team really tough for two-and-a-half games," said Bock. "We'll get better as we move along and learn to respond better. We've got to learn to win on the road as well. We're right there and we're growing every time we play a good team like we did tonight."
Navy will be back in action next weekend when it travels to Colgate and Bucknell.