Oct. 25, 2013
LEWISBURG, Pa. – Senior middle blocker Megan Wilton and sophomore outside hitter Nicole Perri led all players each with 15 kills in the five-set win (19-25, 13-25, 25-17, 25-17, 16-14) over Bucknell (8-12, 1-9 Patriot League) in Lewisburg, Pa., on Friday night. Army (12-8, 9-1) fell behind two sets before it came back to capture the final three for in its tenth Patriot League match as it went on to collect its seventh straight win this season.
Offensively, the Black Knights contributed 61 kills, half of those kills coming from Wilton and Perri. Senior co-captain outside hitter Margaux Jarka and freshman middle blocker Olivia Fairfield also came through on the attack with 14 and 12 kills, respectively. Fairfield also came through with the highest hitting percentage for Army with .320.
On defense, Jarka contributed 19 digs followed by sophomore setter Vanessa Edwards (17), junior defensive specialist Kristen Smeland (16), and senior co-captain libero D.J. Phee (15). Fairfield, Wilton, and senior right side hitter Kerry Horan stood strong at the net as they totaled 13 blocks in the match. Edwards also added 55 assists in Army’s win on Friday night.
“Bucknell played a phenomenal match and we started out slow,” said Army head coach Alma Kovaci. “We learned two lessons today. We need to be aggressive from the start and never underestimate an opponent. Secondly, this team has the heart of a champion. Being able to turn the match around after losing the first two, then coming back after being down 12-14 in the fifth set for the win is incredible. They are able to play together and believe in each other even if things are not going well. I admire those qualities in this team.”
The Bison came out to start the first set with a 4-1 lead before a kill from Fairfield tied it all up, 4-4. Two attacks errors on Army and a service ace from Bucknell’s Jordan Walker pulled the Bison ahead, 10-6, forcing Army into an early timeout. While the Black Knights attempted to chip away at the deficit, Bucknell maintained the lead as it carried out a 25-16 victory.
Bucknell once again pulled ahead early in the second set, as it took a 7-0 lead. As play progressed, the Bison charged ahead 11 points with kills from Jessica Sarato and Karen Campbell to make the score 19-8 and force Army to take a timeout. Never losing momentum, Bucknell finished out the set taking the final three points for a 25-13 win over the Black Knights.
The third and most competitive set opened with teams going point-for-point, before Army could step ahead to take an early 8-3 lead with four straight kills from Wilton. While multiple attack and service errors closed the gap down to one-point, the Black Knights were able to rally for four to jump ahead 18-12. After forcing Bucknell into a late timeout, Army was able to capture a 25-17 win with kills from Wilton and Jarka to close the set.
Jarka opened the fourth set with a kill, followed by two kills from Perri and a kill from Wilton assisted by Edwards to spark an early 5-2 lead. The Black Knights continued to rally for points with additional kills from Jarka and Fairfield as they pulled ahead 14-8. As Army was able to maintain momentum, a kills and a block from Fairfield assisted by Horan closed the fourth set 25-17.
Heading into the fifth set, teams battled it out as the score began with a 6-6 tie score. Collecting the next three points, Army forced Bucknell into a timeout as the score climbed, 9-7. However, Bucknell wouldn’t back down as they continued to fight for points with the score 14-14. Two kills from Jarka would lead Army to a 16-14 match win.
Army will play its second match of the weekend, as the team travels to Bethlehem, Pa., to play against Patriot League competitors Lehigh. Live stats and video will be available to fans via www.lehighsports.com on the volleyball schedule page. A recap and game stats will be available following the match.