Army Fights For Five Sets In Win Over Air Force

Senior Co-Captain D.J. Phee


Senior Co-Captain D.J. Phee

Sept. 13, 2013

Final Stats


WASHINGTON, D.C.  - Army opened its first match in the Service Academy Challenge with a head-to-head battle against academy rival, Air Force. After dueling it out for five sets, the Black Knights came out on top to win the final set 16-14. After losing the first two sets, 25-23 and 27-25, the Black Knights came back to win the next two sets (25-22 and 25-23) . Army took the win after a close fifth set.

"I am proud of the teams' fight against Air Force today," said head coach Alma Kovaci. "In the first two sets, we took a huge lead but fell behind with some unforced errors. However the team made it up by coming back from behind and finishing the match strong. There is no doubt that our team plays hard and with a lot of heart and we showed that in this match. If our coaching staff had to choose between any other team and us, we would choose Army to go into battle every time," she continued.

"We were down 11-6 in the fifth game but we believed in the power of this team. We played at a higher level for those final points and that was especially rewarding. I am very proud of our seniors for leading our team until the very end," said Kovaci.

Senior co-captain outside hitter Margaux Jarka topped Army with 18 kills and completed the double-double with 12 digs, while freshman outside hitter Olivia Fairfield contributed 15 kills and averaged a .312 hitting percentage. Sophomore setter Vanessa Edwards also completed a double-double with 57 assists and 12 digs. Senior middle blocker Megan Wilton contributed to five blocks while the Black Knights defense held Air Force to an average hitting percentage of .168.

The first set which featured eight lead changes and four tie scores remained close as neither team led by more than three points. While the Black Knights trailed behind throughout the set, a defensive effort from Wilton at the net kept the score tight. Late in the set, back-to-back kills from senior right side hitter Kerry Horan allowed Army tied it up 23-23. Air Force closed the set with the final two points.

The set started as a back and forth battle for the lead as Army fought to tie the match. With the score 10-8, the Black Knights took a five point run, featuring kills from Jarka, Fairfield, Phee and sophomore outside hitter Nicole Perri. Air Force managed to answer Army's run and tie the set, 22-22.  but the offensive power of the Black Knights wasn't enough. Air Force sealed the deal with a 25-22 win.

With Army trailing behind 2-0, the match heated up as Air Force took an early lead by snagging the first four points of the set. Unwilling to give up their momentum the Black Knights came back to tie the set 10-10. Holding the lead for 12 points, Army held off Air Force until the Falcons pushed through to tie the set 22-22. Two kills from Jarka and a kill from Horan closed the set in Army's favor, 25-22.

After losing back-to-back sets, Air Force came out hungry in the fourth set and took an early lead. Similar to the previous set, the Black Knights retaliated and tied the set 10-10. With forced errors against the Black Knights the Falcons managed to take an 18-16 lead. Efforts from Wilton and Jarka kept the set close. Army came out to win the 25-23.

In what seemed to be the most competitive set, forced errors allowed for Air Force took an early 6-1 lead, but the Black Knights were not ready to give up. A single kill from Jarka, two kills from Fairfield and four straight kills from Horan tied the set 11-11. After fighting for the final points, kills from Perri and Jarka closed the set, 16-14.

Army will play No. 8 Stanford today at 5 p.m.

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