Army-Navy Volleyball to Cap Regular Season
ANNAPOLIS, Md. –– The Navy volleyball team will close its regular season on Sunday by playing host to Army West Point in the Wesley A. Brown Field House. First serve for the Mids (21-7, 11-4 Patriot League) and the Black Knights (17-10, 10-4) is slated for noon.
NavySports.com will have links to both live statistics and a free live video feed via the Patriot League Network of the match.
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.
While the Mids are off until Sunday, nearly every other team in the league will play at least one if not two matches prior to Navy facing Army. Navy’s post-season options are simple: a win over the Black Knights give the Mids the No. 2 seed in next weekend’s Patriot League Tournament, and a loss drops Navy to the No. 3 seed and gives the Black Knights the No. 2 seed. Army, which will play host to Lehigh Friday night, could be either the No. 3 or 4 seed with a pair of losses.
Lehigh and Colgate are battling for the fourth and final berth in the tournament, which will be held Nov. 18-19 at top-seeded American.
“It is nice to know we have already clinched a playoff berth heading into this weekend,” said Navy head coach Larry Bock. “There is some comfort in that. But we still want to bring that playoff mentality and energy on Sunday so it carries over into next week. We want to raise our game now to the level we will need to be playing at in just a few more days.”
Navy dropped a five-set decision to Lehigh Tuesday night in Bethlehem, Pa. Tara Dotzauer (Sr., Raleigh, N.C.) paced the Mids with 14 kills and a .345 attack percentage, Sarena Seelbach (So., Chapel Hill, N.C.) registered 13 kills and hit .312, and Maddi Sgattoni (Fr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) notched 11 kills, 14 digs and three aces. Additionally, Katie Patrick (Jr., Aurora, Colo.) posted nine kills and eight blocks.
Each of Navy’s four league losses this season have come in five-set matches.
“We keep putting ourselves into position to win matches,” said Bock. “We are four sets away from being undefeated in league play. It is hard to ask for much more than that. Obviously, we are still learning how to finish lengthy matches. That remains a work in progress. We have been building upon each of these learning opportunities and it will payoff for us before the end of the season.”
One of the five-set losses for the Mids was a 20-25, 20-25, 25-21, 34-32, 15-12 defeat to the Black Knights on October 14 in West Point. The teams combined for 450 attempts in the match that lasted over two and a half hours. Army held statistical advantages over Navy in kills (84-67), hitting percentage (.273-.228), and digs (116-107), with the Mids leading the Black Knights in aces (9-2) and blocks (8-4).
Individually, Dotzauer totaled 22 kills and a .408 hitting percentage to lead Navy’s offense and Carolyn Bockrath led Army with 23 kills and a .404 hitting percentage. The liberos for the two teams also played well as Navy’s Sydney Shearn (Jr., Louisville, Ky.) snared a school-record 46 digs and Army’s Ellie Petersen grabbed 40 digs.
“Army is a big, physical, athletic team,” said Bock. “They put a lot of pressure on opposing defenses with their ability to end points quickly with big swings. Even if they don’t terminate the ball right away, their attempts have other teams on their heels and that forces them out of system on offense. Our passers have to be ready for the heat Army brings from the first point of the match and keep us in a good rhythm, and then our hitters need to be prepared to work the ball tactically to the right areas the situation calls for. They need to be conservatively aggressive and attack when the opportunity arises and if it is not there hit more strategically to keep us in the point. It will equally physically and mentally challenging for both teams.”
Patriot League Standings (Remaining Matches)
1. *13-1 American (Nov. 10 vs. Colgate, Nov. 12 vs. Bucknell)
2. *11-4 Navy (Nov. 12 vs. Army)
3. *10-4 Army (Nov. 10 vs. Lehigh, Nov. 12 at Navy)
4. 9-6 Lehigh (Nov. 10 at Army)
5. 8-6 Colgate (Nov. 10 at American, Nov. 12 vs. Lafayette)
6. 7-7 Bucknell (Nov. 10 at Holy Cross, Nov. 12 at American)
7. 4-11 Loyola (Nov. 11 at Holy Cross)
8. 2-13 Lafayette (Nov. 12 vs. Colgate)
9. 1-13 Holy Cross (Nov. 10 vs. Bucknell, Nov. 11 vs. Loyola)
*=Clinched berth in Patriot League Tournament