Nov. 12, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The final week of the Patriot League volleyball season has arrived and Navy is right in the middle of the race for the playoffs. The Midshipmen will begin a week that has them playing three league matches in a span of four days Wednesday with a 7 p.m. match at American.
"It is great for this team and our program to head into the last week of the season in control of our circumstances," said Navy head coach Larry Bock. "We have three big matches looming ahead of us. This is a scenario competitors want to be in, and we coach the ultimate competitors. We had a good practice Monday, so we will be ready to play three great matches this week."
One spot remains available in the four-team Patriot League Tournament, and it will be either Army or Navy that receives the berth. The Black Knights stand in fourth place in the standings with a 9-5 record, with the Mids in fifth place with a mark of 8-5. One of Army's wins was a three-set victory over Navy one month ago in West Point. In addition to already having won the first match of the series between the teams, Army also has an advantage over Navy by virtue of its win earlier this year over American.
Navy will play host to Army Friday at 7 p.m. in the Wesley A. Brown Field House. The Mids will then close the regular season by playing host to Holy Cross Saturday at Noon, while on that same day Army travels to Easton, Pa., to face Lafayette at 6 p.m.
"There is so much importance to the American match," said Bock, "we can't afford to look ahead to who we play this weekend. This team has to continue thinking about just one match at a time and not get too far ahead of ourselves."
Navy suffered a difficult loss to Colgate Friday night in Hamilton, N.Y. The Mids won the first two sets from the defending league champions by identical scores of 25-23, but the Raiders bounced back to win the next three sets by scores of 25-14, 25-19, 15-11. Navy totaled 27 kills over the course of the first two sets, but knocked down a combined 21 kills in the last three sets.
American enters the final week of the season alone in first place in the Patriot League standings. The Eagles have posted a 12-1 record in league play, which includes a 25-12, 25-20, 25-12 win over Navy back on October 18. American posted 44 kills and hit .411 against Navy that day while limiting the Mids to 30 kills and a .103 attack percentage.
"American gives every team match-up problems, and we are no exception," said Bock. "The big thing for us against American is their serving. They have people capable of bringing more heat than the rank and file of the league does. We have to be ready for that right away.
"We are definitely stronger defensively and in transition than we were one month ago. We will need to be smart-aggressive with that, and in first-swing scenarios our hitters will have to be fast."
A link to free live scoring from the match will be available at NavySports.com. Additionally, American is offering a live video stream of the match for $7.95. A link to purchase the stream also can be found at NavySports.com.
Patriot League Standings (remaining matches)
1. 12-1 - American (Navy, Lehigh, Colgate)
2. 12-2 - Colgate (at Loyola, at American)
3. 11-4 - Lehigh (at American)
4. 9-5 - Army (at Navy, at Lafayette)
5. 8-5 - Navy (at American, Army, Holy Cross)
6. 4-10 - Loyola (Colgate, Bucknell)
7. 3-12 - Bucknell (at Loyola)
T8. 2-12 - Holy Cross (at Lafayette, at Navy)
T8. 2-12 - Lafayette (Holy Cross, Army)