Box Score: Army 3, Bryant 0
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Sophomore OH Ariana Mankus led all players with 12 kills and registered her fifth double-double of the season by adding 11 digs as the Army volleyball team swept visiting Bryant in the Black Knights' first test of the third annual West Point Challenge at Christl Arena.
The Black Knights posted the victory by way of 25-20, 25-19, 25-20 set scores. Army improved to 5-7 on the season, while Bryant fell to 8-5.
Freshman MB Megan Wilton and sophomore RS Francine Vasquez totaled nine and eight kills, respectively. Senior S Kayrn Powell led all players with 32 assists to go with six digs and three block assists. Army totaled nine blocks, led by senior MB Amanda Rowell with seven, compared to Bryant's five.
Senior L Brittany Jensen anchored an Army defense that held Bryant to a .027 hitting percentage. Jensen amassed 14 digs, while freshman OH D.J. Phee added 12. Mankus' .310 hitting percentage aided the Army offense in hitting .208 on the match.
Jazmin Stoner paced the Bulldogs with eight kills.
Army took control of the match from the outset, doubling-up Bryant (10-5) on a Vasquez kill early in the first set. The Bulldogs would not go away, however, and used a 7-4 run to pull within two (14-12) on an Army miscue midway through the action. The Black Knights responded with a decisive 8-3 run that gave them a 22-16 cushion as Bryant called timeout. Coming out of the break, the Bulldogs scored the next three points unaswered to inch within three (23-20). Army held on from there, as a Bryant error, Mankus service ace and Vasquez kill ended the set in favor of Army (25-20).
The second set featured four ties and three lead changes and was the most competitive of the match. The teams played back-and-forth in the early going before the Black Knights took a 13-9 lead on a Bryant service error midway through. Army scored seven of the next 13 points to hang on to a 20-15 lead on a Phee kill. Bryant called timeout, but Black Knights remained unphased and were able to stave off any Bryant rallies. Junior DS Kristina Keltner closed the set (25-19) with her first service ace of the afternoon.
Army's offense clicked on all cylinders to start the third and final set. The Black Knights rolled out to an 8-2 lead, helped by kills from Mankus, Wilton and Vasquez. Army continued to keep Bryant at bay for the middle third of play and held a 20-10 lead after a Rowell solo block. A gritty Bryant club responded and out-scored the Black Knights (10-5) down the stretch, but the gap was too much for the Bulldogs to overcome late.
Army returns to action with a Friday night showdown opposite service academy rival Air Force. First serve is set for 7:30 p.m. from Christl Arena. ITT Knight Vision will carry all of the action live. Click here to access.
Bryant, Buffalo, Hofstra, Air Force and Army make up the five-team event. Hofstra defeated Buffalo, 3-1, in the opening match. Click here for a complete tournament schedule.