Aug 21, 2013
WEST POINT, N.Y. – With the Black Knights Invitational around the corner, coaches and players are eagerly preparing for the competition they will face in this upcoming season. Consequently, coaches and sports information directors around the conference have also been voting in the Preseason Patriot League Poll, deciding which teams and which players will come out on top this year. For the second year in a row, Army has proven themselves to be amongst the leaders in the Patriot League by coming in second of nine teams in the 2013 preseason poll, while a trio of Black Knights earned individual honors.
Senior outside hitter Margaux Jarka was voted Preseason Patriot League Player of the Year. Jarka will be this season’s team co-captain along with senior libero D.J. Phee. Jarka was joined on the Preseason All-Patriot League by junior setter Mary Vaccaro. Last year, Jarka was voted to the All-Patriot League second team and was a Patriot League All-Tournament selection in 2011. Vaccaro is a two-time Patriot League Setter of the Year, a first team All-Patriot League honoree and was voted Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2012.
The Black Knights have been a serious threat in the Patriot League and are ready to continue that tradition this fall. After making it to the Patriot League Tournament semifinals last year, Army finished with an 11-3 record in the conference and a 20-9 record overall. This year the team kicks off their season at Gillis Field House for their Black Knight Invitational on Friday, Aug. 30, and Patriot League play begins Sept. 20 at West Point against Lehigh.
“We are once again pleased with the results of the preseason poll” said Army head coach Alma Kovaci. “While it is an honor to be a frontrunner in this league, we do not focus a ton on it. Our goal is to win the Patriot League regular season and Patriot League Championship. Our main goal, however, is to positively represent the United States Military Academy at the NCAA tournament. We have plenty of work ahead of us and this year's team is ready to do just that. Our goal is to make each game our best each time we step on the court. We only have control of ourselves and our own game.”
“Margaux and Mary will play critical roles in our team's journey this season” Kovaci said. “They are great athletes but most importantly great leaders and teammates. While both deserve this tremendous honor, they understand their importance within the team concept and will continue to be strong players for this team.”
For the third year in a row, American earned the No. 1 spot securing half of the available first-place votes. Army takes the second spot with 112 votes and five first-place votes and Colgate, who gained 111 and the remaining five first-place votes, placed third. The remainder of the poll followed in order Lehigh (78), Navy (76) Loyola (52), Bucknell (50), Holy Cross (28) and Lafayette (22).
Last fall the Black Knights lead the Patriot League in most kills, assists and digs on the season. This year’s senior co-captain D.J. Phee, who led the league in most digs in the 2012, will remain a threat as libero for the Black Knights. Jarka will remain a reliable force at outside hitter and Vaccaro will keep her role as Army’s tough setter. Young players such as sophomore setter Vanessa Edwards and sophomore middle blocker Zoe Krietenberg will also play a major role in this season’s success.
Army opens their 2013 season next Friday against Seton Hall at 10 a.m., and against Alabama later that night at 7 p.m. Army will also compete against Washington State on Sunday at 1 on their home court. All matches are played at the Gillis Field House and are free to the public.
Patriot League Preseason Poll
1. American – 119 points (8 first-place votes)
2. Army – 112 (5)
3. Colgate – 111 (5)
4. Lehigh – 78
5. Navy – 76
6. Loyola – 52
7. Bucknell – 50
8. Holy Cross – 28
9. Lafayette – 22
Preseason All Patriot League Team
Margaux Jarka, Army, Sr., OH
Mary Vaccaro, Army, Jr., S
Kaylee Fifer, Colgate, Sr., S
Lindsay Young, Colgate, Sr., OH
Rachel Charles, Lehigh, Sr., L
Amanda Clark, Lehigh, Sr., MB
Erin Fortner, Navy, Sr., OH
Preseason Patriot League Player Of The Year
Marguax Jarka, Army, Sr., OH