Sep 5, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy women's volleyball team will travel to Morgantown, W.Va., this weekend to participate in the Mountaineer Invitational. The Mids will open the event Friday with matches against Fordham (10 a.m.) and Norfolk State (4 p.m.), then will face Canisius (2 p.m.) and tournament-host West Virginia (6:30 p.m.) on Saturday.
Live statistics will be available for each of the matches at the tournament this weekend, with free live video available for each of West Virginia's four matches. Links for live stats and the video stream of Navy's match against the Mountaineers can be found at NavySports.com.
Navy opened its 2013 season by playing host to the Kristen Dickmann Invitational this past weekend in Annapolis. The Mids posted a 1-2 record at the event, losing a four-set match to UNC Wilmington, defeating Illinois-Chicago in four sets and losing in three sets to Elon.
"We had a good `to-do' list from last weekend that was not going to be entirely solved over the course of our three practices this week," said Navy head coach Larry Bock, "but I feel we made some inroads on it. We are in a training period where we are looking at what happens when players are between and around others on the court and what they do without being directly engaged with the ball. There is no question our team is on a track where we are doing good things more often."
Senior team captain Erin Fortner (Villa Hills, Ky.) was named to the all-tournament team at the event. She led the team in kills (35, 3.18 kps), led all non-primary passers and ranked second on the team overall in digs (33, 3.00 dps) and finished second among the Mids in blocks (7, 0.64 bps).
Of the 13 Mids who took to the court over the course of the opening weekend of play, nine of them were either freshmen or sophomores. Additionally, 79 of Navy's 133 kills at the event were accrued by either freshmen or sophomores.
Like Navy, Fordham enters this weekend with a 1-2 record on the young season. The Rams won a 3-0 decision over Savannah State before losing to both Winthrop and Tennessee Tech by scores of 3-0. Each of the three matches were played at Winthrop.
Fordham posted a 14-19 record last season and tied for eighth place in the Atlantic 10 Conference with a mark of 6-8. The Rams were selected to place eighth in the conference this season.
The last time the Mids and the Rams faced each other was in the 1994 season, which was Fordham's final year as a member of the Patriot League. Navy has won each of the six previous matches it has played against Fordham.
Norfolk State also will bring a 1-2 record with it this weekend. The Spartans posted a 3-1 win over Sam Houston State, lost a five-set match to Loyola (Md.) and lost in three sets to tournament-host Appalachian State last weekend.
Norfolk State compiled an overall record of 14-20 last season and tied for second place in the Northern Division of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference with a record of 9-3. The Spartans were tabbed to finish in third place in the MEAC this season.
Navy and Norfolk State will be facing each other for the fifth time in five seasons. The Mids won the first two matches in the series that were played during the 2009 season, with the Spartans winning the other two matches that were contested in 2010 and 2012. Last year's match saw Norfolk State record a 25-22, 23-25, 25-18, 25-21 win over the Mids in a match played at Navy.
Canisius began its season this past weekend by playing host to the Golden Griffin Invitational. The team lost matches to Eastern Michigan (3-1), North Carolina State (3-0) and Cleveland State (3-0) and recorded a win over Hartford (3-1) during the event.
The Golden Griffins placed third in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference a year ago with a record of 13-5. That mark was part of the squad's overall record of 16-13. Canisius was predicted to place third in the conference again this year.
Navy holds a slim 3-2 edge in the all-time series with Canisius. Friday's match will mark the first meeting of the teams since the 2005 season.
West Virginia dropped just one set in posting a 3-0 record at the Blue/Gold Invitational in Toledo last weekend. The Mountaineers recorded wins at the event over Eastern Illinois (3-1), Loyola (Ill.) and Toledo.
West Virginia ended the 2012 season with an overall record of 8-22 and a 0-16 record (ninth place) in the Big 12. This year's pre-season poll for the conference again slated the Mountaineers to place ninth.
The lone two previous matches played between Navy and West Virginia were won by the Mountaineers. This includes a 25-18, 25-18, 25-18 win last season as part of the Patriot Invite that was hosted by George Mason.
"We have to get our hitting numbers up this weekend," said Bock. "Last week, our hitting was hit decent in one match and unacceptable in the other two. It is important for us to outdig our opponent and we didn't do that this past weekend. That is a goal for this coming week. We did sideout real well, but we have to get more stops as our opponents were equally adept at siding out against us. If we can serve, block and dig a little better and improve in transition, this will be a good weekend."