Oct. 24, 2012
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WEST POINT, N.Y. -
Senior outside hitter Ariana Mankus cracked the Patriot League's top 10 for career kills as the Army volleyball team swept visiting Manhattan (25-15, 25-17, 25-21) in a non-conference volleyball match on Wednesday night at Gillis Field House.
The match marked the final regular-season home contest for the Black Knights, who finish out the Patriot League slate with four road matches prior to the conference tournament, Nov. 17-18. The top four teams qualify for the conference tournament.
Mankus dominated the third set and totaled three of Army's (16-7) final six points via kills as the Black Knights broke a 19-19 tie and completed the sweep with a 25-21 win. The Lisle, Ill., native now has 1,459 career kills, which ranks second in Army history and eighth in Patriot League history. Mankus registered 12 kills and 10 digs against Manhattan (13-12).
"There have been some amazing players in the Patriot League over the years, so it's honor to be mentioned with them," Mankus said following the match. "It's been a while since I started playing, and even before then, I was watching my older sisters play. It hasn't really sunk in that volleyball is winding down for me."
Mankus led three Army players to reach double-figure kills. Freshman right side hitter Nicole Perri totaled a career-high11 kills, while junior outside hitter Margaux Jarka added 10 kills and 12 digs. Sophomore setter Mary Vaccaro turned in a seven-kill, 27-assist, 11-dig effort against the Jaspers. Junior libero D.J. Phee helped hold Manhattan to a .070 attack percentage with a match-best 28 digs.
"Ariana (Mankus) kicked it to another gear tonight," said sixth-year head coach Alma Kovaci. "She took over that match when we needed her. She came up with big swings, energy and defense. I'm so proud of her."
Army dominated the opening two sets and entered the break with a 2-0 lead. The Black Knights established a 13-9 lead on a Mankus kill in the opening set. Two points later, Phee stepped to the service line and rattled off six unanswered points as Army took a comfortable 21-11 lead. Each team would score four additional points in the opener.
The second set played by a similar script, as a mid-set push resulted in a 25-17 win. Army held a 9-7 lead and used a 6-0 run with freshman setter Vanessa Edwards on the service line to distance itself from the Jaspers. The Black Knights went on to collect a 25-17 victory. Army hit a match-best .359 hitting percentage in the second set, totaling 15 kills and just one error in 39 attempts.
The teams played through seven tie scores and four lead changes. Neither team led by more than four points the entire way. A Mankus kill late leveled the score at 19-all, igniting a 6-2 Army run to close the set. Junior Lauren Wood recorded a service ace, while Mankus accounted for three kills down the stretch to help key the victory.
Manhattan's Mariana Furquim paced the Jaspers with seven kills.
The Black Knights return to the court at Holy Cross on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 2 p.m.
Game Notes: Army's last six matches have all required only three sets ... freshman Nicole Perri made her first career start ... classmate Kaili Crow started at middle in the third set ... Army and Manhattan have now alternated 3-0 wins in each of the last three years ... the Black Knights improved to 10-4 at Gillis Field House this season.