Army Wins 12th Straight Star

Freshman Middle Blocker Olivia Fairfield

Freshman Middle Blocker Olivia Fairfield

Oct. 12, 2013

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WEST POINT, N.Y.  - Fresh off a 3-0 sweep over Lafayette on Friday night, the Army volleyball team barreled forward and swept academy rival Navy in a 3-0 Saturday night at Gillis Field House. The victory marked the Black Knights' 12th straight "Star" win over the Midshipmen and extended their win streak to four matches on the season.

Army leads the all-time series, 41-10, over Navy. The Black Knights will add a gold star to their collection for this year, which already includes a silver star for defeating Air Force on Sept. 13 at the Pentagon.

Freshman middle blocker Olivia Fairfield had a personal high .708 average hitting percentage on the night, Black Knights season best. Fairfield hit 17 of 24 attempts in addition to two blocks on the night. Sophomore setter Vanessa Edwards added to an impressive offensive performance with 39 assists, seven digs and three service aces.

The Black Knights jumped all over Navy in a 25-17 first-set win, and continued to finish out the match with a 25-14 and 25-18 win, respectively. The three set win helped Army improve its record to 9-8 and 6-1 in the Patriot League. Navy dropped to 7-10 and 3-3 in the conference

"I am proud of this team," said Army head coach Alma Kovaci. "I am really proud of their mental toughness and how they really came together tonight. I think the coaching staff did a good job on scouting before the match, but also picking out what we needed to improve on and making sure our players reached those goals. I think that the way Vanessa ran the offense was a key factor in tonight's win. The passers gave her some good balls, but Vanessa distributed the balls so well which showed how the key in this win was the offense."

"It's really unbelievable how Olivia played today," Kovaci continued. "She has been steady throughout the season, but the way she played today shows mental toughness at all times. Yesterday, she was telling me how she just blocks out the crowd, for a freshman to be able to play like that without the concern of the crowd is amazing."

Army had a team hitting percentage of .363 while it was able to hold Navy to .096. The Black Knights held strong on the net with eight blocks, only allowing the Mids to come away with three.

Army came out swinging to open the match, hitting for a .500 percent in the first set. After going point-for-point, the Black Knights took a four point rally to stretch the score to 5-1. While Navy attempted to chip away at the deficit, Army continued to pull ahead 11-6 with kills from senior middle blocker Megan Wilton and junior defensive specialist Deanna Dalton. A block and kill from sophomore outside hitter Nicole Perri, complimented with kills from senior right side hitter Kerry Horan and Fairfield, forced Navy to take a timeout as the Black Knights stretched the score, 21-15. Three straight kills and a forced error on the Mids led Army to a 25-17 victory over Navy.

Army took a 9-4 lead in the second frame, totaling five kills, three coming from Fairfield. After forcing Navy into an early timeout, kills from Perri and senior co-captain outside hitter Margaux Jarka helped the Black Knights pull ahead 14-6. Navy would score the next two points, but were answered with kills from Fairfield and Wilton as Army took an eight-point lead. The Black Knights would go out to finish the set in a 25-14 lop-sided win.

In what seemed to be the most competitive set, both teams fought hard to capture a third set win. The Midshipmen took their first lead over Army in the match, 4-1 early on, before the Black Knights would come back to tie it up, 9-9. The set featured seven tied score as forced errors rallied points for both teams. After a 14-14 tie, Army once again pulled ahead as it rallied for seven straight points, making the score 21-14. A kill from Perri would close the set 25-18, as the Black Knights captured the match win.

Army will finish out its three-match homestand versus Holy Cross on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. Fans are encouraged to follow @Army_Volleyball for real time updates. GameTracker will also be available on goARMYsport.com for those who cannot attend.

Game Notes: Multiple Army volleyball alumni were in attendance for tonight's match as a part of the homecoming festivities...LTG Robert Caslen, USMA superintendent was also in attendance...standing-room-only as the crowd came to cheer on teams at the match (511 in attendance).

 

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