Volleyball Drops Five-Set Match at American
WASHINGTON, D.C. –– American’s offense found its rhythm as the match wore on to defeat the Navy volleyball team in five sets Friday night at Bender Arena in Washington, D.C. The Eagles (18-7, 9-1 Patriot League) rallied to defeat the Mids (17-5, 7-2), 23-25, 19-25, 25-20, 25-21, 15-9.
Navy has now lost back-to-back matches and three matches this season in which it held a 2-0 lead in sets.
“American’s athleticism and physicality took over as the match went on,” said Navy head coach Larry Bock. “They are able to make plays offensively and defensively that no one else in the league can. They started to win every long and physical point.”
The Eagles went on a 7-0 run to take a 17-10 lead over the Mids in the first set. Navy slowly chipped away at the eventual 18-13, 21-18 and 23-21 deficits and closed the set with four-straight points to win the opening frame.
Navy was the team to go on the run in the middle of the second set as a pair of 4-0 spurts sandwiched around three-straight American points gave the Mids a 19-13 lead. The teams pretty much played sideout volleyball the rest of the way to give the Mids the 2-0 lead.
Navy held a slim 18-17 lead in the third set only to see American tally the next five points to build a 22-18 lead, which was enough of a cushion for the Eagles to extend the match.
American took an 8-4 lead in the early stages of set four. The margin hovered between four and six points until a 5-1 Navy run closed the gap down to 21-19. Four-straight sideouts made the score 23-21, then the Eagles tallied back-to-back points to send the match to a fifth set.
The opening point of the final set was by far the longest rally of the night, which was won by American. The score was tied at 1-1, 2-2 and 3-3 before the Eagles went on a 3-0 run to take a 6-3 lead. The teams played sideout volleyball through the Eagles holding a 10-7 lead, then back-to-back points by American gave them a 12-7 advantage. The teams traded points the remainder of the set.
“Clearly we are losing our pop as these matches wear on,” said Bock. “Most of that is a function of we need to score points in transition and by terminating at the end of long rallies. Our hitting percentages are falling in sets three, four and five. I will figure this out.”
Navy outhit American .272-.239 in sets one and two, but trailed .323-.057 over the course of sets three, four and five. The Eagles totaled 38 kills and seven attack errors in the last three sets while the Mids tallied 25 kills and 19 errors in that same span. American accrued 11 of its 19 blocks in the last three sets, with Navy tallying just two of its eight blocks in the final three sets.
Tara Dotzauer (Sr., Raleigh, N.C.) led Navy with 18 kills, Maddi Sgattoni (Fr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) totaled 15 kills and 10 digs, Katie Patrick (Jr., Aurora, Colo.) had 13 kills and five blocks and Sarena Seelbach (So., Chapel Hill, N.C.) had 12 kills. Also, Patricia Mattingly (Jr., New Albany, Ind.) dished out 55 assists and grabbed 10 digs while Sydney Shearn (Jr., Louisville, Ky.) snared 30 digs.
American middle blocker Vela McBride finished the match with 14 kills and zero attack errors on 18 swings (.778) along with eight blocks.
Navy will play Saturday at Loyola, with first serve slated for 4 p.m. in Baltimore.
Patriot League Standings
1 – 9-1 – American
T2 – 7-2 – Navy
T2 – 7-2 –Army West Point
4 – 6-3 –Lehigh
5 – 4-5 – Bucknell
T6 – 3-5 – Loyola
T6 – 3-6 – Colgate
8 – 2-7 – Lafayette
9 – 0-9 – Holy Cross