Two Home Matches Ahead of Volleyball this Weekend
ANNAPOLIS, Md. –– The Navy volleyball team will be back in the Wesley A. Brown Field House this weekend for a pair of matches. The Mids (18-5, 8-2 Patriot League) will play host to Holy Cross (4-18, 1-9) Friday at 7 p.m. and Colgate (13-9, 4-6) Saturday at 4 p.m.
Admission is free to all Navy home volleyball matches. All fans without a Department of Defense authorized identification card will not be allowed to drive their vehicle onto the USNA grounds. They must either walk through the visitor’s center entrance at gate one or else ride the shuttle bus which will depart from and return to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. A government issued ID card (driver’s license) must be displayed by everyone age 18 and over before they will be allowed through the gates whether they are walking or taking the shuttle bus.
Navy will honor its senior class of Tara Dotzauer (Raleigh, N.C.), Olivia Kluger (Carmel, Ind.), Dorothy Murray (Harbor City, Calif.), Maggie Phillips (Leesburg, Va.) and Ally Spencer (Phoenix, Ariz.) prior to the start of the team’s match against the Crusaders.
Navy enters the week after ending a two-match skid (both in five sets) with a three-set victory at Loyola on Saturday. The Mids posted a 25-19, 25-13, 25-22 victory over the Greyhounds. Maddi Sgattoni (Fr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) totaled 14 kills, Sydney Shearn (Jr., Louisville, Ky.) grabbed 15 digs and Darby Minton (Jr., Chino Hills, Calif.) added 11 digs in the win. Navy as a team outhit Loyola .295-.170.
“There are a number of matches each year we designate as being critical,” said Navy head coach Larry Bock. “The Loyola match was one of those. It was one that rated really high on the toughness meter. I’m very proud of this team for their effort that day. They were not going to play poorly.”
The victory allowed Navy to maintain pace with the teams atop the Patriot League standings. Both Navy and Army West Point are tied for second place with 8-2 records, each sit one game in back of first-place American (9-1) and are two games ahead of fourth-place Lehigh (6-4). Only the top-four teams at the end of the regular season (six matches left, including this weekend) advance to the Patriot League Tournament.
Army West Point holds the tiebreaker with Navy as the Black Knights defeated the Mids in five sets earlier this year (the teams close the regular season facing one another Nov. 12 in Annapolis), but the Mids hold the tiebreaker over American should those two teams end the year tied. The Eagles play host to the Black Knights Friday night. American defeated Army in the first match of the season between the teams.
“Obviously we need to maintain more physical, mental and emotional consistency throughout an entire 150-minute match,” said Bock. “We have had good practice at it and now that we are hitting the home stretch of the season we need to do it more of the time.”
Holy Cross has one of the youngest rosters in the league with 12 freshmen included on the 18-player squad list. The Crusaders have started to put the pieces together lately as their last three matches have featured a five-set road loss at Bucknell, a four-set loss at home to Lehigh and a three-set home sweep of Lafayette.
“I am sure the Holy Cross players and coaches already know this real well,” said Bock. “Their team has grown up a ton over the last three matches and are getting really good, really fast.”
Navy posted a 25-19, 25-19, 27-25 victory over Holy Cross when the teams met earlier this season in Worcester, Mass. The Mids notched only two more kills than the Crusaders did that night (38-36), but held advantages of 10 digs (71-61) and six blocks (8-2) in the decision. Phillips was the lone Mid to reach double figures in kills with 11, while Shearn and Kluger combined for 29 digs. Katie Kerins paced the Holy Cross offense with 14 kills and teammate Sophie VanSevern snared a match-high 20 digs.
“The keys to our first match against Holy Cross were our setter, Patricia Mattingly (Jr., New Albany, Ind.), our libero, Sydney Shearn, and outside hitter Maggie Phillips,” said Bock. “That match was never comfortable for us. When we needed big plays down the stretch, one of those three made one.”
The Mids posted a five-set victory over Holy Cross when the teams met in Annapolis during the 2016 season.
Colgate opened the 2017 league campaign with losses in each of its first five matches, but has since posted a 4-1 record with that one defeat being a five-set loss to American. The Raiders, who do not play a match on Friday, are tied with Bucknell for fifth place in the Patriot League standings.
“Colgate has quickly become one of the hottest teams in the league,” said Bock. “Their outside hitters are really good, one of whom is freshman Alli Lowe, who has turned into a real force in the league. This is back to being a Colgate team that doesn’t beat itself. They will be a real formidable opponent for us. Anyone who wants to see two of the best freshmen in the league in Sgattoni and Lowe will want to watch this match.”
Navy recorded a narrow 25-23, 27-25, 25-12 win over Colgate back on Sept. 29 in Hamilton, N.Y. Blocking played a large role in the outcome of the match as the Mids held an 11-3 edge in blocks which allowed them to record a .286-.066 advantage over the Raiders in hitting percentage. Sgattoni and Lowe led their respective teams with 10 kills each. Defensively, Shearn grabbed 14 digs for the Mids and Katie Patrick (Jr., Aurora, Colo.) tallied seven blocks, with Colgate’s Bridget Kolsky and Peighton McRobie grabbing 11 and 10 digs, respectively.
“I think my words to our team after the first time we played them is that we out-Colgated Colgate,” said Bock. “We were consistent, played a really clean match, passed and served well and took care of the ball. It was nothing spectacular by any means. This one will be very different.”
Navy lost a five-set contest to Colgate last year in Annapolis.
Patriot League Standings (Next Two Matches)
1 – 9-1 – American (Friday vs. Army, Saturday vs. Holy Cross)
T2 – 8-2 – Navy (Friday vs. Holy Cross, Saturday vs. Colgate)
T2 – 8-2 – Army West Point (Friday at American, Saturday at Loyola)
4 – 6-4 – Lehigh (Friday at Bucknell, Saturday at Lafayette)
5 – 4-6 – Bucknell (Friday vs. Lehigh, Sunday vs. Lafayette)
T56 – 4-6 – Colgate (Saturday at Navy, Sunday at Loyola)
7 – 3-7 – Loyola (Saturday vs. Army, Sunday vs. Colgate)
8 – 2-8 – Lafayette (Saturday vs. Lehigh, Sunday vs. Bucknell)
9 – 1-9 – Holy Cross (Friday at Navy, Saturday at American)