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Volleyball Team to Play Three Matches at The Pentagon

Olivia Yeager
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy volleyball team will make the short drive to The Pentagon this weekend for a trio of matches as part of the Armed Forces Tournament. The Mids will play Air Force Friday at 5 p.m., Denver Saturday at 9 a.m. and The Citadel Saturday at 3 p.m.

Due to security restrictions in place at the Pentagon, there will not be any live statistics or live video available from the matches, and the only fans allowed inside to watch the matches are family members of the players whose names were previously submitted for approval.

This is the fourth time that the service academies will competing together in a single tournament (Army is also in the field) and is the first such occurrence since the 2006 season.

The Mids enter the week after having posted a 1-3 record at the Patriot Invitational that was contested at George Mason this past weekend. Navy suffered three-set losses to South Carolina and West Virginia, lost in five sets to Niagara and posted a four-set win over the tournament host.

Navy has compiled an overall record of 2-5 this season.

Erin Fortner (Jr., Villa Hills, Ky.), who was named to the all-tournament team last weekend, leads Navy on the year with averages of 2.89 kills and 0.74 blocks per set. Carolyn Ewert (Sr., Bakersfield, Calif.) stands second to Fortner in kills with an average of 2.60 kills per set, while Katie Sylakowski (Fr., Escondido, Calif.) ranks second in blocks (0.60 bps) and is pacing the team with a .256 attack percentage. Libero Christy Rapp (Sr., Royal Oak, Mich.) is hauling in a team-high 3.23 digs per set, with Ewert leading all other positions on the team with her average of 2.36 digs per set. Meanwhile, Alex Karika (Fr., Cranberry Township, Pa.) is dishing out 8.27 assists per set.

"We are looking to continue with our development this weekend," said Navy head coach Larry Bock. "The win over George Mason was a good way for us to end the second week of the season, and we want to carry that over and build upon those positives in our third week of play."

Air Force has dropped five of the six matches it has played this season. The lone win on the year for the Falcons came against Arkansas State, while two of the program's losses this fall have come to Oklahoma and BYU.

Air Force posted an overall record of 3-27 record last season and placed eighth in the Mountain West Conference with a league mark of 0-14. The Falcons were predicted to place ninth in the league this season.

The Falcons hold a 9-1 advantage in the all-time series with the Mids, which includes a three-set win by Air Force last year in Annapolis.

Denver has split the six matches it has played thus far this season. Included among the results for the Pioneers this year have been wins over Virginia and Syracuse and losses to Colorado State and Kansas State.

The Pioneers placed fifth in the Sun Belt Conference last season with a league record of 10-6 that was part of the team's overall record of 13-16. This season, Denver was tabbed to place sixth in the Western Athletic Conference.

The lone previous meeting between Navy and Denver took place during the 1999 season when the Pioneers won a three-set match against the Mids that was played in Minneapolis, Minn.

The Citadel enters the weekend in search of its first victory of the season. Two of the six losses for the Bulldogs this season have been five-set matches against Radford and Saint Francis (Pa.).

The Bulldogs tallied an overall record of 8-22 last season and placed sixth in the Southern Conference's South Division with a conference record of 1-15. They were picked to again place sixth in the division this year.

Navy and The Citadel faced each other in four consecutive seasons from 2003-06. The Mids won each of those four matches, all of which were decided in four sets.



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