Oct. 25, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- After spending three-consecutive weeks on the road, the Navy volleyball team returns home Friday night to play host to American in a 7 p.m. match at the Wesley A. Brown Field House.
There is no admission charge for any Navy home volleyball match.
Links to free live statistics from the match will be available both at NavySports.com and for those who have downloaded the free Navy App onto their Apple or Android smart phone or tablet. Additionally, a video stream of the match will be available over the internet to Navy All-Access subscribers (a one-month subscription costs $9.95, while a year-long subscription is $79.95) and on mobile devices for those who have subscribed to the Navy App (Apple: $4.99/month, $19.99/year; Android: $9.99/year).
Only those fans with a Department of Defense sticker affixed to their vehicle are allowed to drive onto the USNA grounds. All other fans wishing to attend either of the volleyball matches must either park in downtown Annapolis and walk through the security gate or ride the free shuttle bus to and from the USNA. The shuttle bus will originate from and return to the Blue (west) side parking lot at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (550 Taylor Ave., Annapolis, Md., 21401). While the shuttle bus itself is free, there is a $5 per vehicle charge for parking.
Navy enters the match in the heart of the race for the Patriot League Tournament. American is in third place in the league standings with a record of 6-3, while Navy and Lehigh are tied for fourth place with identical records of 5-4. Only the top-four teams in the final standings will advance to the league tournament. Including this weekend's matches, there are five matches remaining in the league campaign. Lehigh will play host to a Lafayette team that is tied for sixth place with a 2-7 record on Friday.
"In some ways," said Navy head coach Larry Bock, "we are getting a head start on the official playoffs right now because the stakes are high with each and every match we play. It has been fun to watch our young team take the responsibility of winning very seriously. Our practices are intense and with a very clear focus. That has been the bottom-line reason why we have found the success we have had this season."
The Mids opened up a stretch of five-consecutive road matches with a contest at American on Oct. 5. Navy narrowly won the opening two sets of the match -- 25-23, 25-23 -- before the Eagles won the ensuing three sets -- 25-14, 25-21, 15-7 -- to claim the match.
Navy held a slim .194-.193 advantage in hitting percentage after two sets, but American totaled a .341 attack percentage in sets three through five while holding the Mids to a (-).023 percentage over the latter trio of sets. The Eagles outhit the Mids for the match, .268-.075.
Not helping the Navy offense was the loss of Erin Fortner (Jr., Villa Hills, Ky.) due to an injury early in the third set. Despite missing over half of the match, Fortner was the lone Mid to have reached double figures in kills on the night with 12. Meanwhile, American's offense was led by Morgan Hendrix with 18 kills and Rebecca Heather with 17 kills.
Defensively for the Mids, Christy Rapp (Sr., Royal Oak, Mich.) hauled in a match-high 25 digs.
"With the lineup changes they have incorporated, we will be looking at a much different American team Friday night than the one we played several weeks ago," said Bock. "We are approaching the match as if we are playing them for the first time. It is obvious Barry (Goldberg) is coaching really hard right now, which means the match will be as much tactical as it will be execution. We will have to adjust properly during the course of the match.
"American is really good at being a big team (their starting setter is 6 feet 6 inches tall). Conversely, we are not. We can't play a first-swing kill game against them. We have to serve tough, pass bold, extend rallies and win the points in the trenches."