Nov. 7, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- An arduous closing stretch to the regular season that has the Navy volleyball team playing each of the top-three teams in the current Patriot League standings begins Friday for the Mids when they play at first-place Colgate in a 7 p.m. match.
Links to free live video and live statistics from the match are available at NavySports.com.
The Mids enter the penultimate weekend of the regular season in fifth place in the race for the four-team league tournament. At 8-4, Navy stands one win in back of Lehigh for the fourth and final berth in the postseason. The two teams split the season series this year, with each winning at home and in four sets. The Mountain Hawks will play Friday at Bucknell before playing Saturday at Colgate.
"We continue to be in a playoff mentality," said Navy head coach Larry Bock. "The next part of our `bracket' is Colgate. They are a team that is a lot of fun to play against. They play at a tempo we like and are familiar with. They also transition the ball extremely well. A team must earn every point against them."
Colgate posted a narrow four-set win over Navy when the teams met earlier this season in Annapolis. After the Mids won the first set by the score of 25-23, the Raiders claimed the ensuing three sets by scores of 25-22, 26-24 and 25-19, respectively.
Navy held a .177-166 advantage over Colgate in hitting percentage in the match, thanks in part to the Mids tallying 16 blocks to the 8 posted by the Raiders. However, Colgate still managed to record 57 kills to Navy's 49 on the afternoon. Navy also totaled three aces and 10 service errors, while Colgate posted four aces and just five service errors.
"We served the ball almost too well," said Bock of the first match against Colgate. "We were really aggressive and missed a lot of serves. They were the right type of misses because they were aggressive. If we can serve that tough with just a few less errors while keeping our blocking and defensive effort up, we will have the chance to be successful. It does all come down to serving. We have to serve the heck out of the ball with better serve location than we had in the first match."
(Sr., Villa Hills, Ky.) and Alex Cassel
(Jr., Sandy, Utah) led Navy's offense and blocking efforts on the day. Fortner totaled 14 kills and six blocks -- along with 10 digs -- while Cassel tallied 13 kills and seven blocks.
Colgate saw four of its players notch at least nine kills in the match, with Diane Seely pacing the Raiders with 15 kills.
Navy will close the regular season next week with a Wednesday match at American and matches at home Friday against Army and Saturday against Holy Cross.
One win in any of Navy's last four matches would give the Mids their first winning season in Patriot League play since 2007. Navy is already assured of finishing with at least a .500 record for the second-straight year, which is the first such occurrence for the Mids since the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
Patriot League Standings
1. 11-1 - Colgate
2. 10-1 - American
3. 9-3 - Army
4. 9-4 - Lehigh
5. 8-4 - Navy
T6. 2-10 - Loyola
T6. 2-10 - Holy Cross
T8. 2-11 - Lafayette
T8. 2-11 - Bucknell
Patriot League Schedule
Friday, Nov. 8
Navy at Colgate
Bucknell at Lehigh
Loyola at Holy Cross
American at Army
Saturday, Nov. 9
Lehigh at Colgate
American at Holy Cross
Lafayette at Bucknell
Loyola at Army