Volleyball Home Saturday for League Opener
Sept. 20, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy volleyball team will open its Patriot League season Saturday when the Midshipmen play host to Lafayette in a 4 p.m. match in the Wesley A. Brown Field House.
A free live video stream of the match will be available on NavySports.com through the Patriot League Network. Additionally, live statistics from the match will be available on NavySports.com.
There is no admission charge for any Navy home volleyball match.
All fans without a Department of Defense identification card will need to either park outside of the Naval Academy and walk through the security checkpoint or else ride the free shuttle bus to and from the matches. The shuttle bus will originate from and return to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (parking is $5. per vehicle). For directions, shuttle bus location and answers to other game day related questions, please visit the following link:
The Mids enter Saturday's match with a 4-7 record on the season. Navy lost a pair of five-set decisions last week in posting a 1-3 record. The Mids first lost a five-set match to Air Force before defeating Cincinnati in three sets. Navy then lost to Northern Kentucky in five sets and suffered a four-set defeat to Cleveland State.
"We have played a tougher non-conference slate this year," said Navy head coach Larry Bock, "and with a few exceptions we have competed well in most of the matches. We seem to control our own destiny in a lot of these cases, so it is a matter of knowing when to terminate a rally and under what circumstances to do so. We are getting better at that. This team has realistic and high goals, and there is no question they are willing to put in the time and effort to achieve those goals. This weekend will be our first test."
Navy's offense is averaging 11.62 kills a set and is hitting .161, while its defense is allowing opponents an average of 12.25 kills per set and a hitting percentage of .192. Navy is slightly outdigging its foes (14.07-.13.60 dps) and is narrowly being outblocked (1.95-1.85 bps).
Individually, Erin Fortner (Sr., Villa Hills, Ky.) is leading Navy with an average of 3.24 kills per set and ranks second on the team with 2.76 digs per set. Navy middle hitters Alex Cassel (Jr., Sandy, Utah) and Katie Sylakowski (So., Escondido, Calif.) are averaging 2.08 and 2.00 kills per set, respectively, with Sylakowski hitting .342 and Cassel hitting at a .261 clip. The duo also is averaging a nearly identical number of blocks this year as Sylakowski leads Cassel by just two-hundredths of a block (0.73-.071 bps). Freshman Alli Graf (Annapolis, Md.) is the top passer on the team with an average of 4.00 digs per set.
Lafayette opened league play Wednesday night with a four-set loss to Lehigh. The setback dropped the overall record for the Leopards this season to a still impressive 8-3.
The Leopards are both knocking down and allowing nearly 12 kills a set, while grabbing and allowing nearly 17 digs a set. However, Lafayette is averaging 2.00 blocks a set and giving up 1.53 blocks a set, which has helped the Leopards outhit its opposition .205-.150.
Pacing the Lafayette offense is Karissa Cilento with an average of 3.03 kills per set. Brianne Giangiobbe is posting 2.58 kills per set, with Danielle Towslee averaging just over two kills per set. Towslee and Katy Rooney are averaging just under one block per set, while Lauren Pisauro is leading the Leopards with a 3.83 digs-per-set average.
Navy won both of the matches it played against Lafayette last season. Initially the Mids rallied after dropping the first two sets to the Leopards to win in five sets in Annapolis before posting a three-set win in a match played in Bethlehem, Pa.
Lafayette had won three-straight matches in the series prior to Navy winning both matches played during the 2012 campaign.
Close matches are the norm in the Navy-Lafayette series; four of the last six and five of the last eight matches between the teams have been extended to five sets. Of the 35 sets played between the teams in this span, 12 of the have been determined by just two points and 20 of them have been decided by no more than five points.
"The only match we have `circled' thus far this season was our match against Air Force," said Bock. "It was good for us to have a match with a conference-like feel as that match did. For the most part we responded well, so that would indicate we are ready to play in matches in the league where everything is magnified."