Oct. 6, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Senior outside hitter Ariana Mankus led all players with 13 kills, a .667 hitting percentage and 12 digs as Army dominated visiting Holy Cross, 3-0, in Patriot League volleyball action on Saturday night at Gillis Field House. The Black Knights rolled in all three sets (25-13, 25-6, 25-9) and took over sole possession of second place in the conference standings.
Mankus' standout all-around performance highlighted a total team effort for Army (12-6, 4-1 Patriot League), which saw six different additional players record at least three kills. Junior outside hitter Margaux Jarka and freshman middle blocker Zoe Kreitenberg registered eight and seven kills, respectively. The Black Knights hit for a season-best .407 percentage on the match.
Army's defense, equally as impressive, held Holy Cross (1-18, 1-4) to a -.047 hitting percentage. Along with Mankus' 12 digs, junior libero D.J. Phee totaled 11 digs, while Jarka added nine.
"We had an intense, competitive week of practice and tonight, it paid off," said sixth-year head coach Alma Kovaci. "We truly played `as one,' and everybody contributed. I'm very proud of that fact.
"Our serving game is something we've really worked on as well, and I thought it showed today," she continued. "The most important thing was our ability to maintain the serve and keep Holy Cross off the net."
The Black Knights totaled seven service aces with Mankus and sophomore setter Mary Vaccaro totaling three apiece. Vaccaro led all players with 26 assists, while freshman setter Vanessa Edwards chipped in with 12 assists. Both setters played vital roles in balanced ball distribution. Along with the aforementioned hitters, senior captain Francine Vasquez (4 kills), sophomore middle blocker Molly McDonald (4) and freshman Nicole Perry (3) each helped stuff the box score with kills.
Holy Cross hung with Army during the opening third of the first set, pulling within 7-6 on a Black Knights miscue. Army went on to score eight of the next 12 points, which forced a Crusaders timeout facing a 15-10 deficit. The momentary pause did not slow Army down, as the team rattled off 10 of the next 13 points, including the final five unanswered, to close the set.
The Black Knights dominated the second set from start to finish. Mankus served for 14-straight points, turning a 4-3 lead into an 18-3 rout in favor of Army. The team went on to hold Holy Cross to a season-low six points in a 25-6 triumph.
Army made a statement coming out of the intermission, as Vaccaro served for the first seven points of the third set. The Black Knights cruised from there en route to a lopsided 25-9 win.
Senior outside hitter Megan Lynch led Holy Cross with five kills and six digs on the night.
Midway through an eight-match homestand, Army returns to Gillis Field House for a pair of matches next weekend. The Black Knights host Lehigh on Friday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. before welcoming Lafayette to town on Saturday, Oct. 13, at 7:30 p.m. Next weekend marks Alumni Weekend for the Black Knights, while Friday night's match against Lehigh will serve as the team's annual Dig Pink contest. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to the match in support of breast cancer awareness.
Game Notes: Junior middle Megan Forbes started the match ... freshman middle Kaili Crow made her collegiate debut in the second set ... junior setter Christiana Fairfield reached the same milestone in the third set ... fifteen different Black Knights earned court time ... Army improved to 43-5 all-time against the Crusaders.