WEST POINT, N.Y. - Three players landed double-figure kills but it was visiting Buffalo scoring a 3-2 victory over the Army volleyball team in Sunday's second match of the third annual West Point Challenge at Christl Arena.
Freshman MB Megan Wilton led Army with a career-high 16 kills to go with a .364 hitting percentage. Sophomore OH Ariana Mankus and freshman RS Margaux Jarka added 14 and 11 kills, respectively. Both finished with a double-double, recording 15 and 11 digs, respectively.
Army outlasted Buffalo, 28-26, to open the match. The Bulls won the next two (25-22, 25-16), but Army rallied to force a fifth set with a 25-16 victory in the fourth. UB proved to be too much for the Black Knights in the fifth, taking the match by way of a 15-10 fifth-set win. The match entertained 25 ties and 13 lead changes in its entirety.
Senior L Brittany Jensen's serve gave Army a 3-0 lead at the outset. The Black Knights continued to remain in control and doubled-up the Bulls by a 10-5 score on a Mankus kill. Each time Army made a run, Buffalo answered. Army led 15-10 when the Bulls used an 8-3 run to level the score at 18-18. The teams proceeded to play through six more ties as neither was able to capitalize on set point. An Army service error knotted the score at 26-26, but the Black Knights took advantage of consecutive UB miscues to take the first set, 28-26.
Army fell behind by a 5-2 score early in the second period, but the Black Knights came rolling back to tie the score at 7-7 on a Fabiola Castro kill. The teams played back-and-forth during the middle portion of the set and found themselves tied at 12-all before Buffalo made its move. The Bulls went on to take a 17-12 lead, but the Black Knights answered to tie it back up at 20-20 heading down the home stretch. UB scored five of the final seven points to tie the match, 1-1, with a 25-22 win.
The Bulls opened a comfortable 13-5 lead in the third set as Army dug itself a hole that it would not get out of. The Black Knights got no closer than five the rest of the way, as Buffalo posted a 25-16 win.
The fourth set featured seven ties and three lead changes with the final tie coming at 10-10. This time it was Army catching fire to close the set as the Black Knights scored 15 of the final 21 points to take the frame, 25-16. Freshman OH D.J. Phee served for the final four points of the set, including a service ace. Mankus, Phee and Wilton each posted a kill during the final four points.
Buffalo took an early 5-1 lead in the fifth and Army would not recover. The Black Knights pulled to within two (10-8), but the Bulls scored five of the final seven points to hand Army its first loss of the West Point Challenge.