Aug. 31, 2012
FORT WORTH, TEXAS -
The Army volleyball team ran into a scrappy Texas A&M Corpus Christi club in the first match of the TCU Nike Invitational and it resulted in a 3-0 (25-23, 25-12, 25-17) loss for the Black Knights. Army looks to bounce back with a pair of matches tomorrow, facing SMU and TCU.
Senior co-captain Ariana Mankus and junior middle blocker Megan Wilton paced Army (2-2) with six kills apiece, while junior outside hitter Margaux Jarka totaled five kills in the setback. Despite opening the match with a two-point heartbreaker, the Black Knights struggled to get their offense going against the Islanders.
Texas native D.J. Phee paced the Black Knights' defense with 15 digs, while Mankus added 11 digs to her six kills. Sophomore middle Molly McDonald accounted for four of the Black Knights' 8.5 blocks.
Texas A&M Corpus Christi's Briana Brink led all players with nine kills. Brooke Alverson posted eight kills and a .208 hitting percentage.
The most competitive of the three sets, the teams battled through 11 ties and three lead changes in the opening set. After a long rally to start the match, a Wilton tip got the Black Knights on the board with a 1-0 edge. Army pushed its lead to 4-1 before the Islanders heated up to tie the score, 7-7. The ensuing few points played back-and-forth with Texas A&M Corpus Christi taking a 14-12 lead midway through the action. The Black Knights retaliated with a 4-2 run, prompting an Islanders timeout as Army went ahead 18-16. Three more ties ensued, and the Black Knights pulled within 23-22 late in the contest. The Islanders had the upper hand serving and went on to secure a 25-23 triumph.
Texas A&M Corpus Christi jumped out to a 12-3 lead to open the second set. Mankus began to heat up from there as the Black Knights rode her offensive spark as they chipped away at the deficit. The rest of the attack followed suit and Army pulled within 16-9 over the next several plays. Army inched within seven twice more, but the Islanders kept pushing and hung on for a 25-12 victory.
The Islanders scored the first three points of the third frame, but a pair of McDonald kills helped to level the score at 3-all. The tie did not last long as Army soon found itself in a 7-4 hole. Vasquez delivered the next two points with a kill and service ace as the Black Knights pulled within 7-6. A Wilton tip for a kill tied the score once again, 7-7. The teams played through two more ties before the Islanders used a 6-0 run to take a 15-9 edge. Texas A&M Corpus Christi went on to close the match with a 25-17 victory.
The Black Knights face two tests on the second day of the TCU Nike Invite on Saturday. Army will face SMU at 10 a.m. local time and the host Horned Frogs at 7 p.m. CT. The Army-TCU match will be broadcast live via FrogVision for a nominal subscription fee (click here). Fans who already have a Knight Vision account will have the ability to use that log-in information to access the feed.
Match Notes: Freshman setter Vanessa Edwards made her collegiate debut, relieving starter Mary Vaccaro in the second set ... Army is beginning a new series with all three opponents participating in the TCU Nike Invite ... D.J. Phee (Allen, Texas) and Kaili Crow (Spring, Texas) both hail from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.