FAIRFAX, Va. - Freshman MB Megan Wilton recorded a career-high eight kills to lead the Army volleyball team against West Virginia, but the Black Knights hit under .100 for the night as the Mountaineers collected a 3-0 win over Army at the George Mason Patriot Invitational.
The Mountaineers snapped a two-game losing skid with a 25-21, 27-25, 25-14 victory. The loss dropped the Black Knights to 2-5 overall, while WVU improved to 5-2.
Wilton hit for a .250 attack percentage to lead the Black Knight attack. Sophomore OH Ariana Mankus and senior MB Amanda Rowell added six kills apiece. Mankus and senior L Brittany Jensen led the defense with 11 digs each, while senior S Karyn Powell accounted for Army's only double-double on the night with 25 assists and 10 digs.
Army opened the first set strong and took a 4-1 lead on a Wilton kill. The Mountaineers stormed back with an 8-5 run to level the score at 9-9. West Virginia went on to build a 19-16 lead on a kill from Kylie Armbruster. Army head coach Alma Kovaci called for a timeout, but the Black Knights never fully recovered from the surge as the Mountaineers won a 25-21 decision.
The teams battled back-and-forth to start the second set and found themselves tied at 14-14 before West Virginia made its move. While the Black Knights went cold, the Mountaineers rattled off seven unanswered points to stake a 21-14 lead that they would not relinquish. Army did not make things easy for WVU down the stretch as the Black Knights used a 10-3 run late to tie the score at 24-24. Three additional ties ensued with the final coming at 27-all on a Mankus kill. The Mountaineers finished the set with a kill and block.
The Mountaineers maintained momentum heading into the third set, taking a commanding 19-7 lead. The Black Knights did not get any closer than nine points the rest of the way.
Mankus was Army's lone representative on the All-Tournament team. She averaged 3.67 kills and 4.17 digs per set over three matches for the tournament.
Army returns to action with a mid-week meeting with Hudson Valley rival Marist on Wednesday night in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The Black Knights then head to Indianapolis, Ind., for the Butler Invitational next weekend. Army is set to take on Xavier and Butler on Friday and UNC Wilmington on Saturday.