Sep 7, 2013
VALPARAISO, IND. - The Army volleyball team collected its first win at the Valpo Popcorn Classic in Valparaiso, Ind., Saturday night after coming out strong in a 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-18) sweep of Rhode Island Rams in closing out competition at the two-day tournament.
Army bounced back from a tough loss against Eastern Michigan Saturday morning to improve to 2-5 on the season.
"This tournament was another growing experience, and I am proud of the team's performance," said head coach Alma Kovaci. "The two matches that we lost this weekend were closer than they appeared on paper. These are the matches that are going to help us grow, and we are learning from these experiences.
"I am proud of how Kerry Horan played; she delivered for us. You can see how our block system improved since we first started. Again, this is a great growing experience and we have learned a lot from this tournament."
Army denied Rhode Island offensively and defensively. The Black Knights produced 47 kills and had an average hitting percentage of .240, while holding Rhode Island to only 37 kills and a hitting percentage of .154.
Offensive leaders for Army included freshman Olivia Fairfield, who serviced 17 kills and had a season high hitting percentage of .500. Fairfield was followed by senior right side hitter Kerry Horan with 14 kills and an average hitting percentage of .370 on the match.
The Black Knights defense contributed to the victory with 16 digs from senior co-captain D.J. Phee in addition to 10 digs from sophomore setter Vanessa Edwards. Fairfield stood strong at the net with five blocks, and freshman middle blocker Alexandra Bell assisted on four blocks.
Fairfield's kill in the opening set of the match set the tone for the Black Knights. The set, featuring eleven ties and four lead changes, was the most competitive for both teams,. Kills by Horan and sophomore outside hitter Nicole Perri allowed the Black Knights to take a 15-13 lead, while back-to- back kills from Jarka and Bell, assisted by Edwards, allowed Army to stay on top. Though the Rams attempted to chip away at the deficit, kills from Horan and Edwards solidified the 25-21 victory.
In the second set of the match, Rhode Island took an early, 4-1, lead in an effort to tie the match. After the teams rallied for four points, kills from Perri and Fairfield allowed the Black Knights to pull ahead 14-9. Army was able to stay on top due to the block and kill combination of Horan and Jarka en route to winning the set 25-20.
Leading 2-0, Army continued to pull ahead, 14-11, and stayed on top of Rhode Island for the duration of the match. Kills from Edwards and Fairfield followed by back-to-back kills from Bell widened the gap and created a seven-point lead for the Black Knights. Army took the victory over Rhode Island, 25-18, in the final set.
The Black Knights travel to the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Sept. 13, to participate in the Service Academy Challenge that will feature Air Force, Stanford and Yale.