Nov. 15, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Army held the Navy volleyball team to a .078 hitting percentage in a three-set victory by the Black Knights over the Midshipmen Friday night in front of nearly 1,100 fans at the Wesley A. Brown Field House in Annapolis.
"Army dug and passed the ball very well tonight," said Navy head coach Larry Bock. "In the end, we got out-dug and out-served, and that will lead any team to having a low hitting percentage."
With this evening's 25-17, 25-19, 25-20 result, Army clinches the fourth and final berth in next week's Patriot League Tournament. The Black Knights improved to 10-5 in league play while the Mids fell to 8-7 and remained in fifth place in the standings with one match left in the season for both teams.
Army used a 5-0 run to take a 21-15 lead in the first set, then quickly jumped out to a 7-1 advantage at the start of the second set in taking a 2-0 lead in sets.
Army built several six-point leads in the middle of the third set at 11-5, 16-10, 17-11 and 18-12, but Navy ran off the ensuing six points to tie the frame at 18-18. The teams traded the next four points to keep the score knotted at 20-20. A Navy ball handling error would return the serve to the Black Knights. Army quickly notched back-to-back kills on its way to tallying the last five points of the set and the match.
While its defense limited Navy to 26 kills and a .078 attack percentage in the match, Army's offense knocked down 46 kills and hit .269.
Helping hold down the Navy offense was Army libero D.J. Phee, who snared 23 digs in the three sets.
"I though D.J. was terrific for Army," said Bock. "The box score shows her with 23 digs, but she also covered so well when we blocked the ball back. And we did that quite a few times. She was just incredible with the way she played a complete game."
Olivia Yeager (So., Lutz, Fla.) led Navy with eight kills while Katie Sylakowski (So., Escondido, Fla.) recorded five kills and added three blocks. Navy team captain Erin Fortner (Sr., Villa Hills, Ky.) posted six kills, with her second one of the night being the 1,000th kill of her career.
Additionally for the Navy defense, Alli Graf
(Fr., Annapolis, Md.) and J.B. Loomis
(Jr., Havertown, Pa.) grabbed 12 and 10 digs, respectively.
"I was proud of the way we finished," said Bock. "Olivia, Star Steele (So., Tampa, Fla.) and Caroline Jacobs (Sr., Arnold, Md.) were especially strong for us in that third set. They really cauterized things for us.
"And what a great atmosphere for both teams to play in front of. The crowd stayed with us right until the very end, and they helped to make it a fun place to be for the players."
Navy will close its season Saturday with a Noon match against Holy Cross in the Wesley A. Brown Field House.