Oct. 26, 2011
RIVERDALE, N.Y. -
Junior outside hitter Ariana Mankus and sophomore middle blocker Megan Wilton combined for 35 kills, while freshman setter Mary Vaccaro recorded her third-straight double-double (assists, digs), in a 3-0 non-league win at Manhattan on Wednesday night. The Black Knights extended their win streak to six matches and improved to 18-6 overall.
After Army posted a 25-18 win in the opening set before Manhattan (14-10) bowed in a close 26-24 win in the second set. The Black Knights hit for a match-high .382 attack percentage in a dominating 25-14 third-set win to seal the match.
Mankus hit .368 for the match and led all players with 16 kills. Wilton hit .588 with 11 kills and just a single error in 17 attempts. Vaccaro finished the match with 45 assists and tied sophomore libero D.J. Phee with a team-high 14 digs.
Army's offense clicked on all cylinders and hit for a .331 attack percentage to mark its second-most efficient outing of the season.
Vaccaro, Phee and Wilton - with a match-high six total blocks - helped anchor an Army defense that held the Jaspers to a .103 attack percentage. The Black Knights' defense totaled 11 blocks to Manhattan's three.
"Tonight was one of the best mid-week performances I have seen in all my nine years here," said Alma Kovaci, who is in her fifth season as Army's head coach after spending four years as an assistant coach. "Performing consistently at this level will be key down the stretch as we look ahead in the Patriot League. We are improving and getting better at the right time."
The teams played back-and-forth to open the match, but Army led wire-to-wire. Consecutive kills from junior right side hitter Francine Vasquez gave Army a three-point cushion (15-12) and highlighted a decisive 10-6 run to close out the set (25-18). Vasquez and Wilton paired for back-to-back double blocks to end the set.
Easily the most competitive set of the match, the teams played through five ties in the second session. Manhattan held a 20-14 lead midway through the action before Army began to mount its monster comeback. The Black Knights used a 7-1 run and tied the set at 21-21 on double block from Mankus and freshman Molly McDonald. Three additional ties would ensue with the final coming at 24-24 thanks to a Fabiola Castro kill. A Mankus kill followed, giving Phee a chance to serve for set point. Wilton and Vasquez teamed to block Malia McGuinness as Army took a 2-0 lead in the match.
A Mankus kill broke a 10-10 tie in the third set as the Black Knights scored four unanswered points and never looked back. Army out-scored the Jaspers by a 15-4 margin from there en route to a lopsided 25-14 victory.
LaKell Havens paced Manhattan's attack with 10 kills.
Patriot League play resumes as the Black Knights return at home for a single match next weekend, hosting Holy Cross on Sunday, Oct. 30, at 1 p.m. Fans are encouraged to take part in Halloween by dressing in costume for the match.
Match Notes: The match marked Army's seventh sweep of the season ... Army's last win streak longer than six matches was during the 2009 Patriot League championship season when the team won 14-straight matches ... Ariana Mankus moved into seventh place on Army's career kills list with 1,086 kills ... the Black Knights improved to 15-4 all-time against Manhattan.