Nov. 2, 2012
HAMILTON, N.Y. - Senior outside hitter Ariana Mankus reached the 30-kill plateau for the first time in her career, but the co-captain's standout effort highlighted a heartbreaking 3-2 loss at first-place Colgate in Patriot League volleyball action on Friday night at Cotterell Court.
The Black Knights dug out of a 2-0 hole with a pair of wins in sets three (25-22) and four (25-14), respectively, before falling just short in a 15-11 fifth-set decision. The Raiders remain firmly in first place, while Army falls to 8-3 and into a tie with American for second place in the conference standings.
Mankus hit for a .410 percentage with just five errors in 61 attempts. She accounted for 30 of Army's 70 kills on the match, while junior outside hitter Margaux Jarka totaled 11 kills. Defensively, four Black Knights reached double-digit digs, including junior libero D.J. Phee's team-high 25. Army totaled nine blocks on the match. Sophomore middle blocker Molly McDonald had a hand in five of them.
In a very evenly matched contest, the teams played through 21 tie scores and 11 lead changes throughout.
"I'm proud of the team's fight tonight," said sixth-year head coach Alma Kovaci. "Colgate is a fantastic, very balanced team. We need to move on, learn from this and focus on working for a win at Bucknell tomorrow."
Army fell behind 21-13 in the opening set but did not go quietly. Despite out-scoring the Raiders 7-4 down the stretch, it was too little too late for the Black Knights in a 25-20 decision. Colgate went on to take a 2-0 lead following a 25-18 set-two victory.
The Black Knights came out of the break firing on all cylinders and hitting for a match-best .357 percentage as a team. In a back-and-fort set, Army looked to close things out with a 22-19 lead late in the action. Senior Francine Vasquez, sophomore Mary Vaccaro and Jarka each delivered kills down the stretch as the Black Knights hung on for a 25-22 victory.
Army dominated Colgate in a 25-14 fourth-set triumph. Junior defensive specialist Deanna Dalton served for four unanswered points as the Black Knights established a 16-5 lead and cruised the rest of the way.
The fifth set featured four tie scores in the early going before Colgate took over for good with a 6-5 lead. The Black Knights challenged the Raiders the entire way, but could not get over the hump. A Colgate error pulled Army within 13-11, but the next two points went the Raiders' way as they collected their 10th league win.
Army visits Bucknell on Saturday for a 5 p.m. match at Davis Gym. A victory would clinch a Patriot League Tournament berth for the Black Knights. Fans are encouraged to follow @Army_Volleyball for periodic updates throughout the match. GameTracker (live statistics) will also be available.
Game Notes: Not only did Ariana Mankus establish a career-high, her 30 kills were the most in a single match by an Army player since 1990 ... Deann Machlan holds the record with 43 at Rider in 1995 ... Army is 2-1 in five-set matches this season ... Colgate remains the only Patriot League team to sweep the Black Knights during the regular season ... Army's final four matches of the regular season will be played on the road ... the Black Knights have earned a Patriot League Tournament berth for a conference record 13-straight seasons and are going for a 14th-straight bid in 2012.