Nov. 16, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Army volleyball team clinched its 15th Patriot League Tournament berth with a three-set sweep over academy rival Navy (12-16, 8-7) on Friday, Nov. 15. The Black Knights (13-12, 10-5 Patriot League) came out to capture a win in the first set with a score of 25-17. Using that momentum, Army took the final two sets, 25-19 and 25-10, to claim the match. The Black Knights have yet to miss the Patriot League Tournament under the direction of Army head coach Alma Kovaci.
Black Knights senior co-captain outside hitter Margaux Jarka led all players with 13 kills in Friday night's win, followed by senior middle blocker Megan Wilton who produced 11 kills. Freshman middle blocker Olivia Fairfield and senior right side hitter Kerry Horan also added seven and nine kills, respectively. Fairfield also led all players with an average hitting percentage of .462, while sophomore setter Vanessa Edwards added 36 assists.
On defense, senior co-captain D.J. Phee added to her impressive dig record, collecting 23 digs on the night. The Black Knights were able to hold the Midshipmen to .128 while maintaining a .269 hitting percentage of their own.
"We are really proud of the team for their performance tonight," said head coach Kovaci. "Our seniors have put up impressive record of never losing to Navy. I thought our serving was exceptional and we kept Navy off the net which was crucial. The team followed the game plan and everyone did a great job, especially with the pressure of a packed Navy gym. This win was crucial for clinching the Patriot League tournament and I am glad that we can continue competing once the regular season ends tomorrow."
The Midshipmen came out to take the first three points of the first set before the Black Knights came back to tie the score, 9-9,with kills from Wilton and sophomore right side hitter Nicole Perri. After going point-for-point, Army pulled ahead to take a 16-13 lead with multiple forced errors and a block from Jarka. The Black Knights, able to maintain its lead for the remainder of the set, allowed only four additional points from Navy as they closed the set with a 25-17 victory.
Army mimicked Navy as they went out to take the first three points of the second set with a kill from Jarka and two forced attack errors. After forcing Navy into an early timeout, the Black Knights continued to dominate taking a nine-point lead with a score of 12-3. Kills from Wilton, Jarka and Fairfield kept Army on top as the Midshipmen attempted to chip away at their eight-point deficit, in which they were unsuccessful. The Black Knights finished out the set with a 25-19 win over Navy.
The Black Knights used their momentum from the previous two sets to take a 4-0 lead to start the third. After taking an 11-5 lead with kills from Jarka and Wilton, Army forced Navy into a mid-set timeout. Coming off of a quick break, the Midshipmen rallied for three points forcing the Black Knights to take their first timeout of the set. Navy, picking up momentum, closed the gap to tie the score 18-18 late in the set with kills from Olivia Yaeger and Katie Sylakowski. After keeping it close at the 20th point, Army went out to capture the final five points of the set and close the match with a 25-20 third set win.
Army will finish out its regular season in Easton, Pa., versus Lafayette on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. Fans who cannot attend the road venture can follow the Black Knights via GameTracker, which can be found on the Army volleyball schedule page. Stats and a game recap will become available following the match on goARMYsports.com.