Box Score: Army 3, Fairleigh Dickinson 0
WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Army volleyball team opened 2010 with a 3-0 win over visiting Fairleigh Dickinson in the second match of the Army Invitational on Friday afternoon at Gillis Field House. Freshman OH D.J. Phee enjoyed a standout collegiate debut, leading all players with 11 kills and completing a double-double with 10 digs. The Allen, Texas, native hit .391 and registered just two errors in a team-high 23 attempts.
Army edged FDU by a 25-23 score in the opening set, while defeating the Knights 25-17 and 25-21 in sets two and three, respectively.
Junior MB Rachel Willis finished the match with nine kills and two blocks. Senior MB Amanda Rowell added six kills, while sophomore OH Ariana Mankus totaled five kills. Senior S Karyn Powell led the Black Knights with 24 assists, while rookie S Lauren Wood finished with 10 assists.
FDU's Meaghan Wheeler led the Knights with 10 kills.
The teams battled through 27 ties and eight lead changes throughout the afternoon affair. The back-and-forth play was evident from the start as neither team led by more than three throughout the entire first set. After the Knights leveled the score at 22-22, Army head coach Alma Kovaci called timeout. Her team rallied to score the final three points of the set unanswered. Willis put the exclamation point on the frame with a set-ending kill off a Powell assist.
Army took control early in the second set, but it was a final push at the end that proved to be the difference. Holding on to a 15-12 lead midway through the set, the Black Knights rattled off 10 of the final 14 points to win by a 25-17 score. Phee provided three of the final four Army points via kills, while fellow rookie MB Megan Wilton also added the 24th point.
FDU kept things interesting throughout a third set that featured 14 ties and five lead changes. The score seesawed throughout the opening half of play before Army was able to gain some distance. The Black Knights established a 20-17 edge on a kill from Phee, but the Knights battled back to within one (22-21) with time winding down. Army would hold the Knights at 21 points, scoring the final three points of the match thanks to FDU miscues.
The Black Knights are back in action on Friday night, facing New Hampshire in the final match of the day. The two programs square off for the fourth time in program history at 7:30 p.m.