Black Knights Welcome Holy Cross Saturday Night

(L to R) Ariana Mankus, Zoe Kreitenberg

(L to R) Ariana Mankus, Zoe Kreitenberg

Oct. 4, 2012

WEST POINT, N.Y. - In the midst of an eight-match homestand and sitting in a tie for second place in the Patriot League standings, the Army volleyball team welcomes Holy Cross to town this Saturday, Oct. 6. First serve is set for 7:30 p.m. at Gillis Field House.

The Black Knights are coming off a 1-1 home weekend during which they defeated Bucknell (3-0) before suffering their first Patriot League loss of the season against Colgate (3-1). The setback ended Army's five-match win streak. The Black Knights hold an 11-6 overall record this season. After opening the year with 17-straight losses, Holy Cross is fresh off its first win of the year, a 3-1 triumph over Bucknell in Worcester, Mass.

The Last Meeting
Holy Cross0
Army3
October 30, 2011
West Point, N.Y.
Army Clinches Tournament Berth With Win Over Holy Cross
Army is headed to the Patriot League Tournament for the 13th year in a row. Junior outside hitter Ariana Mankus hit for a .400 hitting percentage and led all players with 16 kills as the Black Knights swept Holy Cross, 3-0, and clinched one of four spots in the 2011 Patriot League Tournament on Sunday afternoon at Gillis Field House.

After the second weekend of league play, Army continues to lead the conference in kills (13.53 per set), assists (12.63) and digs (18.11). Sophomore setter Mary Vaccaro (10.02) tops the league in assists, as does junior libero D.J. Phee in digs (5.45). While the Black Knights currently rank eighth in the nation in digs per set, Phee lands 19th in the NCAA individually.

Senior co-captain Ariana Mankus continues to solidify her reputation as one of the league's most formidable offensive threats. She is second on the team with a 3.32 kills-per-set average and has recorded 10 double-doubles (kills, digs) in 2012, including each of the last four matches. Mankus currently ranks second all-time in kills (1,393) and third in digs (1,311). She is 58 kills and 46 digs shy of cracking into the Patriot League's all-time top 10 in both categories.

Along with Mankus, the Black Knights have gotten significant contributions from several other players. Last weekend, rookie middle Zoe Kreitenberg enjoyed a breakout match in Army's win over Bucknell with career highs in kills (16) and hitting percentage (.250). She followed up with a 10-kill effort against Colgate, her first consecutive double-digit kill matches of the season. Junior outside hitter Margaux Jarka's 2.69 kills per set rank third on the team. She paced the Black Knights with 16 kills opposite Colgate. Senior co-captain Francine Vasquez continues to chip in from the right side, reaching double-digit kills four times this year. Her 18 service aces lead the team and rank sixth in the conference.

Army has enjoyed great success against Holy Cross under the direction of head coach Alma Kovaci, owning a perfect 10-0 record against the Crusaders during her six-year tenure. The Black Knights hold a 42-5 advantage in an all-time series that dates back to 1982. Holy Cross' last win (3-2) over Army came in 2005 in Worcester.

Senior outside hitter Megan Lynch, a three-time second team All-Patriot League honoree, leads the team and ranks sixth in the conference in kills (2.59 per set). Sophomore outside hitter Heather Roberts, who averages 1.12 kills per set, tied for a match-high with 14 kills in last week's win over Bucknell. Sophomore Hanna Grace Stokes is in her second year as the Crusaders' starting setter and averages 4.87 assists per set.

Defensively, Holy Cross relies heavily on senior captain Elizabeth Watters. A veteran libero, Watters' 4.08 digs per set top the team and rank fifth in the Patriot League.

Fans will have two options to follow along with all of Saturday's action as GameTracker will be available by visiting the volleyball schedule page of www.goARMYsports.com. Along with the live statistics feed, fans are encouraged to follow @Army_Volleyball on Twitter for real-time updates throughout the match.

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